During the SA PGA Championship at St Francis Links, Steve Surry had the misfortune of incurring a penalty on the 16th hole in his third round.
After searching for his ball in the rough left of the fairway, a ball was found in the thick vegetation for which St Francis Links is well known. The rules state you should identify your ball as part of your search for it, but they also say that you have to mark the ball first.
Unfortunately, without even realising he had done so, Surry picked up his ball without marking it. The incident was witnessed by one of the rules officials on the live broadcast. Upon reviewing the TV footage to check that the entire sequence had indeed been shown, it was clear the procedure as prescribed by Rule 7.3 was not followed and therefore Surry was given a one-stroke penalty.
The summer swing of tournaments on the Sunshine Tour are headlined by the co-sanctioned events with the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour). During these events we have golfers from two Tours playing together, and it is important that they all play under a unified code of rules.
Fortunately, we already play under the rules as laid down by The R&A, but there are also the respective Tours’ Permanent Local Rules, or ‘Hard Cards’, that prescribe the local rules that apply for each week on Tour. Similar to the local rules at every club, this Hard Card standardises the unique situations that apply to Tour events every week.
It is therefore important that both Tours align their local rules so players do not inadvertently apply a local rule on one Tour that may not apply under another Tour’s rules. In recent years most major Tours around the world have standardised and aligned their local rules with each other.
The partnership with the European Tour goes back a number of years and our local rules are pretty much aligned with only one or two small differences, mainly relating to the application of pace-of-play policies. In such an instance the two Tours will agree on a combined policy that would apply for these tournaments and inform players of the changes in effect for these specific events.
– This article first appeared in the December 2021 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine. Subscribe here!