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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 2 August, 2014

Tough luck, golf nerds! Rule change reduces the power of armchair police

USGA and R&A announce rule change regarding the use of “enhanced technological evidence.”

Woods: penalised at the BMW Championship in September.
Woods: penalised at the BMW Championship in September.
Image: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP/Press Association Images

THEY GOT PADRAIG Harrington and they got Tiger Woods.

But eagle-eyed golf fans with HD TV evidence will no longer have as much power when it comes to phoning in penalties.

The USGA and the R&A have announced that under new rules, players will no longer be penalised if “enhanced technological evidence” shows that their ball has moved but that movement was not visible to the naked eye.

Harrington was the first player to fall foul of the TV vigilantes when he was penalised at the Abu Dhabi Championship in 2011.

The Irishman shot an opening round 65 but was later ruled to have signed for an incorrect score when a TV viewer spotted that his ball had moved slightly on a green.

Harrington was given a two-stroke penalty but because he signed for a 65 rather than a 67, he was disqualified.

At the BMW Championship in September, Woods was also given a two-shot penalty after a video editor spotted his ball moving slightly as he cleared away a twig.

“It is important to consider carefully new developments in the game and that is reflected in the new Decisions on the Rules which give greater clarity on the use of smart phones and advanced video technology,” David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director for rules and equipment standards, said.

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