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Decision 18-4 Decision Revisited...At Ruth's Chris 

Alex Miceli was skeptical of Sunday's Justin Rose penalty reversal and did a nice job getting some questions answered about what went on behind the scenes starting Saturday night.

Namely, when did the rules staff decide to revisit the situation and more closely analyze the parameters of the new 18-4 Decision that ultimately deemed the three TV trucks and zoomed in view to be "sophisticated technology."

Miceli writes about Saturday's (ultimately) mistaken ruling:

If Decision 18-4 was discussed, why was it not implemented?

After the third round, the rules staff had an informal rules dinner at a nearby Ruth's Chris Steak House.

The Rose incident dominated the dinner discussion, and for the second time Decision 18-4 and its applicability was discussed.

By 8 a.m. Sunday, Cox, Carman and Russell decided that the Rose incident needed more voices. Rules officials John Paramor of the European Tour and Grant Moir of the R&A and Dennis were onsite, so they were brought into the discussion with Thomas Pagel of the U.S. Golf Association by phone.

By 11, it was decided that Rose’s penalty should be rescinded because of the use of sophisticated technology, which was the enhancement of the TV footage.

The only thing more impressive than the reversal is the rules staff actually getting into Ruth's Chris parking lot during The Players, the only restaurant I've seen that has police support!

Miceli also quotes a miffed Graeme McDowell who can't understand how the situation got to the point it did where a penalty was revoked.

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Reader Comments (11)

A precedent was set...and imo it was in the right direction.

If they had to zoom in on a HD feed to the point the ball looked like it wasn't even round, then it's reasonable to say that there was no advantage gained.

We're human after all. How many times on the Champions Tour do you think a ball may have rolled up to a quarter turn that wasn't discernible to a sun-fried veteran's eyes and they play on?
05.12.2014 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
I guess we'll have to wait for Rosaforte to let us know if they had separate checks or if one guy picked up the tab. Ruth's Chris--I'm impressed.
05.12.2014 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
Being a rules official ain't easy, never has been. Justin did all he could do as a player, full cooperation and acceptance of the officials decision and redecision.
05.12.2014 | Unregistered CommenterNo Longer
ol Harv plus one!
05.12.2014 | Unregistered Commentersmails
The couch narc with HD follow-up is no way to enforce a rule.
05.12.2014 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
Definitely a difficult situation. If Rose had never made any indication that the ball may have moved, we probably wouldn't be in this position. The difference between this and the Tiger situation is that Tiger either never saw the ball move, or acted like he didn't. Why is that important? It's a lot more plausible to make the 18-4 argument when the player gives no indication that the ball moved and someone eventually calls it in from his couch. So in the Tiger scenario, sophisticated technology was needed to see something that the player (allegedly) didn't see. In the Rose scenario, sophisticated technology was needed to CONFIRM something that the player thought he may have seen.

Personally, I think the underlying rule is a little ridiculous, considering a) Rose could not possibly have "replaced" a ball that moved maybe a millimeter at best, and b) Rose didn't gain any advantage from the ball's movement anyway. But the way the rule is written, it's hard to argue that he didn't see a ball that actually moved. He saw something, and the cameras confirmed it.

What's a little scary is that it's this type of incident that could pave the way for, brace for it, introducing instant replay into golf. I mean, Rose essentially challenged his own ruling on the course (not that I'm blaming him). They're going to need to make the caddies carry challenge flags.
05.12.2014 | Unregistered CommenterSeitz
We already have replay in golf, and since we only need to make a decision before the golfer signs his card (if then) it is anything but instant.
05.12.2014 | Unregistered Commentersmails
"The couch narc with HD follow-up is no way to enforce a rule. "

@tlavin, do you have a solution? Is it preferable for rules officials to ignore information provided to them by 'couch narcs'? Should they also ignore information offered by on-site spectators? And, what if these on-site or couch-riding witnesses are colleagues (as in the Rose case) or former colleagues (as in Eger-Tiger-Masters case) or are otherwise qualified?
05.12.2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson
Fortunately, Tiger wasn't the golfer involved in this incident. Otherwise, whatever the ruling, numerous fans would have yelled foul (Tiger Lover group) or the opposite (Tiger Hater group).
Too bad video analysis was available. As suggested in a previous thread on this matter, it would have been simpler if he declared he thought it moved, took the appropriate penalty, and continued, case concluded. That said, the penalty seems harsh after microscopic movement following grounding of the club, and no apparent advantage gain or loss.
I've been to several USGA rules courses. I like the way the rules work. But in selected instances, this seems a dumb rule.
05.12.2014 | Unregistered Commentergov. lepetomane

If a player or official does not question an action, then play on.
05.12.2014 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth

Actually, Tiger did react as if he saw the ball move. If he didn't why did he recoil from the stick after he touched it in the video?
05.13.2014 | Unregistered Commenterkenoneputt

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