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USGA and R&A to adopt new protocol for video review; will eliminate scorecard penalty



A working group led by the USGA and R&A has unanimously agreed to adopt a new set of protocols for video review when applying the Rules of Golf.

The group, consisting of the PGA TOUR, LPGA, PGA European Tour, Ladies European Tour and The PGA of America, as well as the governing bodies, will implement the following measures on January 1, 2018:

  • Assign one or more officials to monitor the video broadcast of a competition to help identify and resolve Rules issues as they arise
  • Discontinue any steps to facilitate or consider viewer call-ins as part of the Rules decision process

In addition, the USGA and R&A have approved the adoption of a Local Rule, available beginning January 1, to eliminate the additional two-stroke penalty for failing to include a penalty on the scorecard when the player was unaware of the penalty. All of the organizations represented on the working group will introduce the Local Rule for 2018, and this scorecard penalty will be permanently removed when the modernized Rules of Golf take effect on January 1, 2019.

The USGA and R&A established the video review working group in April to initiate a collaborative discussion on the role video footage can play when applying the Rules, including the challenges and benefits of its use and also the issues that arise from viewer call-ins.

“The level of collaboration with our partners has been both vital and gratifying as we look to the future,” said Thomas Pagel, USGA senior director of the Rules of Golf and Amateur Status. “As technology has continued to evolve, it has allowed us to evolve how we operate, as well.” [For a copy of the protocols and full Local Rule, click here]

David Rickman, executive director of Governance at The R&A, said, “This has clearly become an important issue in the sport that we felt we should address at this stage ahead of the implementation of the updated Rules of Golf in 2019.

“We have concluded that whilst players should continue to be penalized for all breaches of the Rules during a competition, including any that come to light after the scorecard is returned, an additional penalty for the scorecard error is not required.”

The new protocols also recognize the importance of limiting video review to material obtained from the committee’s broadcast partner. Other video, such as from an individual’s smartphone or camera, will not be used under these protocols.

The new protocols and Local Rule are the latest measures announced by the USGA and R&A to address concerns related to video evidence. In April 2017, Decision 34-3/10 was issued to limit the use of video through the introduction of a “reasonable judgement” standard and a “naked eye” standard.


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