Harrington: Rule change for moving ball gives players peace of mind

Harrington: Rule change for moving ball gives players peace of mind

Playing the second round of the PGA Championship in blustery conditions, with winds blowing up to 30 mph, Padraig Harrington felt a sense of calm. He didn’t have to worry about taking a penalty if his ball moved because of the wind.

A rule, changed this year by the game’s governing bodies, no longer penalizes players if they can say with certainty that an outside agent – like wind – forced the ball to move.

“I will say, I cannot believe how easy or how beneficial that rule change is that the ball moving on the green – like it would have been so stressful putting today, whereas, you know, it’s okay now if you know what I mean,” he said.

The impetus for the rule change came when Webb Simpson assessed himself a one-shot penalty in the final round of last year’s Zurich Classic when he grounded his putter behind the ball. The ball moved. He then lost in a playoff to Bubba Watson.

Now, a player can replace the ball without penalty under Rule 18-2b.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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