Joe Public Will Have No Say
The Kilted Caddie expresses his opinion about the significant changes concerning the Rules of Golf and the Handicap System…
The Kilted Caddie expresses his opinion about the significant changes concerning the Rules of Golf and the Handicap System.
With regards to the latter there will, as from 2020, be a single world handicap system based on the US model which averages all the rounds that you play including social ones. I think this is fairer as it reflects more a person’s overall ability and should ward against so-called ‘bandits’. However, the maximum handicap is going up to 54 to try and induce less able players to the game. Unfortunately, a negative and slightly cynical me thinks this could lead to a few problems. Golfers can be an awfully canny lot when big prizes are floating around the amateur circuit.
As for the Rule changes they are mostly straightforward and sensible with the aim of speeding up play. Hoorah! For instance, you may now putt on the green with the flagstick unattended, only look three minutes for your ball and take forty seconds to play your shot. All well and good here and this has received much caddie approval. However, we then have the exception to Rule 6-6d and what I
call the Lexi Thompson camp appeasement rule. For this has surely been introduced to placate those who feel that the young Texan lass was unduly hard done to when she received four penalty shots in the ANA Invitational back in 2017.
But let’s look again at what exactly happened here as I think it is important for the world of golf writ large and deserves to be scrutinised with the objectivity and seriousness that it deserves.
What happened then? Well essentially, some bloke sitting on his sofa, I think in Wisconsin, was enjoying the TV coverage of the event and noticed that Lexi did not replace her ball properly. He picked up the phone to alert the golfing authorities at the event who agreed and gave her the penalties, to the stupefaction of Lexi and her fans.
Now to say that I am monumentally suspicious of her motives here is a preposterous and gross understatement. Look at what happened over the marking of this 2-foot putt. Firstly, she stands in a very awkward position to mark her ball, in fact almost at right angles to the ball-hole line. Why? Then she places the marker at a skewed position in relation to this line, lifts the ball and replaces it.
Interestingly, when challenged next day she said, ‘I just put it right in front’, which indeed may well be true, and I do in fact accept that bit is true. But sorry Lexi, you sure didn’t mark it right behind! We ain’t living in some quantum universe here my dear. That inch didn’t just pop out of some wandering and errant black hole.
Anyway, whatever one thinks, we now have a rather wonderful exception rule to forestall retrospective penalties, and indeed, the introduction of video analysis to the game. But, unfortunately, no longer
for eagle-eyed dudes hanging out on sofas in Wisconsin I’m afraid. Joe Public will have no say.
And oh, by the by, a new rule allows you to repair spike marks on the green! It wouldn’t have helped Lexi anyway because she said there weren’t any spike marks on those greens. Hmm.
Ok, I realise that the stakes are very high in sport nowadays and particularly so in professional golf. But we are and have always been an honourable, untainted and noble sport. Let’s try and keep it that way. For we don’t want to go the way of FIFA with its shenanigans and that game’s pathetic professional foul nonsense. Nor indeed the dreaded doping claim fiascos of athletics and cycling. And now, of course, the balltampering of cricket. Yes, cricket.
For goodness sake! The Australian captain, the second most esteemed bloke in the country, the best player in the world. Admits to cheating.
It’s enough to make you start greeting.
/H[L 7KRPSVRQ UHFHLYHG IRXU SHQDOW\ shots in the ANA Invitational back in 2017