In match-play golf, when a match is even, we’ve said forever that the match is “All Square.” However, with the new Rules of Golf introduced in 2019, the term “All Square” has been removed from match-play vocabulary.
From here on out, when a match-play golf contest is even, we’re now supposed to use the more typical sports term: “tied.”
As part of the massive overhaul in the Rules of Golf, the USGA and R&A decided to change the vocabulary used to describe match-play status. An “all square” match is now “tied.” There’s no such thing as a “halve” of a hole or a match; it’s now a “tie.”
That’s why you’ll see and hear matches are “tied” instead of “all square” starting with the 2019 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
A match no longer even has a “status,” as it did forever. Now we know the match “score” as how much a player is up or down through a certain number of holes. However, match scores will still be read the same way as we’ve always known it, with a final score indicating how much the winner was up in the match and the number of holes remaining when they closed out the match. Someone winning a match up 4 holes with three holes left to play will still be a 4-and-3 win. However, an 18-hole match ending in a draw will be called “tied” instead of “halved.”
It’s going to seem bizarre to say a match is tied after forever explaining to someone a match is “all square,” but the change in terminology should help casual golf fans watching match play get the concept a little bit better. Frankly, it wasn’t that hard to explain it all in the first place, but now it should be particularly easy.