One of the most controversial rules of golf is changing on the PGA Tour
CMC PGA Tour

One of the most controversial rules of golf is changing on the PGA Tour

A picture of golfer Jordan Spieth in 2017 A picture of golfer Jordan Spieth
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There are several golf rules that really bother golfers and golf fans alike, and one of the most controversial, most maligned rules is now changing -- at least on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.

The PGA Tour has informed its players that the rules and penalties are changing for turning in an incorrect scorecard.

Under the Rules of Golf, a player is deemed to have turned in their scorecard after they leave the confines of the determined scoring area following a round or a completed tournament. Once a player has left the scoring area and turned in their scorecard, that player's scorecard is deemed official. If a player turns in a scorecard and signs for a score that's lower than what they actually shot, then they are penalized with disqualification. (If a player signs for a score that's higher than their actual score, there's no penalty since the higher score is penalty enough.)

The wrong-scorecard penalty is one of the most brutal under the Rules of Golf, but it's a penalty that's wholly preventable. After all, so many people see almost every shot of a player's round on the PGA Tour. The player's playing competitors, volunteers, ShotLink operators, TV camera operators and fans combine to see practically every shot from every player in the field. With a player's round captured in full, particularly with data and cameras, there's no reason that a player can't make sure they sign for the right score.

That's why the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and their umbrella tours are now adopting a new enforcement of this rule. Under this new rule, which was developed in consultation with the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the R&A, a player now has a 15-minute grace period to correct their scorecard, even after it has been turned in, validated and logging into the scoring system. In that 15-minute period, a player can change their official scorecard to correct it without the fear of penalty.

If a player is in the scoring area when that 15-minute grace period expires, then their scorecard will be considered returned and official when they leave the scoring area.

The PGA Tour told players that there may be times when the 15-minute rule doesn't full apply, including when determining tee times after a cut is made, turning in a scorecard that would lead to a playoff or the end of a competition.

The amended rule will apply starting with the Travelers Championship on the PGA Tour and will apply to all PGA Tour-affiliated tours, including the Korn Ferry Tour, PGA Tour Champions and PGA Tour Americas. The DP World Tour is expected to implement the rule quickly.

Jordan Spieth was disqualified earlier in the year at The Genesis Invitational after turning in an incorrect scorecard following the second round at Riviera. He wrote down a 3 instead of a 4 on the par-3 fourth hole, signed for an incorrect score and was disqualified. The inadvertent mistake likely influenced a rapid change in a rule that has, for many years, been considered archaic on the major professional tours.

About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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