Rules Corner

Rules Incidents In First Two Rounds

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July 14, 2012

Lake Orion, Mich. – Each grouping or pairing at the U.S. Senior Open has a walking referee assigned to accompany it. Whenever the official is called on to make a ruling or he observes a player proceeding under a Rule, he records the facts and the ruling on a Rules Incident card. These cards are collected and the information is stored in a database.

Through the first two rounds, there were 133 incidents reported. In most cases, the incident was handled in under two minutes. There were 29 balls hit into the water hazards and lateral water hazards around the golf course. Eight balls were lost or hit out of bounds while five players chose to proceed under Rule 28 for an unplayable ball. In addition, there were 12 instances of a player receiving relief from a temporary immovable obstruction. Most of the rest have been for relief from obstructions, both movable ones like microphones and immovable ones such as cart paths or sprinkler heads.

The hole with the most incidents was the difficult par-4 12th hole. A large lateral water hazard lies just to the left of the drive zone. Sixteen balls have been hit into the hazard. The ninth hole with out of bounds to the right and the clubhouse behind has had the second-highest number of rulings with 13.

Having a referee with each group ensures that any time a player needs a ruling there is someone on the spot to assist them promptly. You will usually see these officials walking near the ropes with the walking scorer and standard bearer.

For more information on the Rules of Golf, go to the Rules of Golf page at or watch the Rules of Golf videos at  

Written by John Van der Borght, manager of Rules communications for the USGA. 


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