New golf rules 2019: Why Tiger Woods' double-hit at the Hero wouldn't be penalized
Golf Culture

New golf rules 2019: Why Tiger Woods’ double-hit at the Hero wouldn’t be penalized

At the 2018 Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods created a controversy at Albany Golf Club when video evidence showed he double-hit a golf ball from under a bush during the second round of his 18-man year-ending event.

Woods appeared to scoop the ball and then incidentally hit it again. Afterward, Woods looked at the video footage with rules officials. While he saw himself hitting the ball twice, he said he didn't feel himself hit the ball twice. Under the old Rules of Golf, that meant Woods was not subject to a one-stroke penalty for the double hit (effectively counting both hits).

Decision 34-3/10 under the Rules of Golf declares a player cannot be penalized for an infraction made clear to the player through the use of high-definition video.

However, under the new Rules of Golf starting in 2019, Woods would have faced no controversy whatsoever.

Under the new Rules of Golf, which go into force on Jan. 1, 2019, there is no penalty for a double-hit of the golf ball. Rather, the entirety of the hits is considered a single stroke. It makes sense. Double-hits are almost universally horrible golf shots. It's not like every double-hit turns out brilliantly, with the ball super close to the target. Double-hits are embarrassing, representing a deceleration in the stroke and are penalty enough.

For those of us who think about trying to stretch rules and norms to an absolute extreme, that doesn't mean a golfer can conceivably volley and carry their golf ball all the way to the hole if they're able to keep the ball in the air.

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