Next step in revising rules: Divot relief
Our group has played several rounds under the new rules. The ruling bodies have made easier rules, but the changes may not speed up the pace of play or grow the game to any significant amount.
The relaxation on the repair of spike marks and ball marks on the green is a step for fairness. It will help those who have to follow the foot dragger for 18 holes. But time on the greens may be longer. Under the old rules, you putted through spike marks; now, you take the extra time to tamp them down.
If you are a “ready” golfer, leaving the pin in makes sense if you are the first one to the green with a 50-footer. Time savings: minimal. And unless you are as accurate as Annie Oakley or Bryson DeChambeau, you probably won't try to bank a curving 3-footer in off the pin.
The next logical rules change is repair of damage in closely mown areas. If you can mark your ball, clean it, do your repairs to pitch marks, tap down spike marks and then replace the ball on greens, why does a fairway divot not be damage eligible for repair?
Spike marks and ball marks on the green created by others can be repaired, so why not divots created by others?
As often stated, the goal is to protect the field and make it a fair challenge to all. Unless every competitor were to land in a divot on the same hole, the playing field is not level. The player is penalized for the actions of an earlier competitor. Hence, no level playing field.
Wasn’t the stymie eliminated years ago in a step toward fairness, as only a few, not the field, got stymied on a putt? It's time to consider relief from divots to make the game easier and maybe faster.
St. Johns, Fla.
Pressure Tour players, officials to pick up pace
Kudos to Mike Purkey for bringing up the pace of play for touring professionals (“Resolutions ring in a new golf year,” Jan. 4).
This topic should be front and center all season long. Questions at news conferences should include this subject to stimulate discussion among the players and PGA Tour officials so that by next year there will be a plan in place. Action from the top down will influence the everyday participant.
To all those journalists who cover the Tour, please exercise your power of the pen and continue to ask the tough questions.
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