With the 2016 USGA championship season behind us, let’s take a look at the data to see which Rules competitors in our Open championships encountered most frequently this year. The figures cited below include the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club, the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open at CordeValle, and the 2016 U.S. Senior Open at Scioto Country Club.
Next week, we’ll take a look at the Rules and Decisions golfers from around the country reached out to us the most frequently about throughout the year.
Every time a referee is called in to assist a player for any reason, it is recorded as a “ruling.” In 2016, there were a total of 270 rulings during the U.S. Open, 329 during the U.S. Women’s Open, and 245 during the U.S. Senior Open.
The most notable rulings aren’t necessarily the most common. For instance, the situation at Oakmont, in which Dustin Johnson’s golf ball moved on the fifth green on Sunday, involved Rule 18-2. Certainly, the ruling sparked a lot of discussion and controversy throughout the golf world, but Rule 18-2 did not make the list of the most common Rules applied during USGA Open championships in 2016. The same goes for Rule 13-4, the relevant Rule when Anna Nordqvist’s club touched the sand in a bunker in the playoff at the U.S. Women’s Open this year.
The Rule that our referees were called in to assist with the most frequently in 2016 was Rule 26 – Water Hazards. This will usually involve relief procedures from either a regular (yellow) water hazard or a lateral (red) water hazard. In addition to playing a ball in a water hazard as it lies, the player has the following options for relief from a yellow water hazard:
- Proceed under stroke and distance by dropping a ball at the spot of the previous stroke.
- Determine the spot where the ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard and then drop a ball on a straight line from the flagstick through that spot going back as far as the player would like.
For a ball in a lateral (red) water hazard, a player has the options above, plus the following additional options:
- Drop within two club lengths of and not nearer the hole than the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard.
- Drop within two club lengths of and not nearer the hole than the point on the opposite margin of the water hazard that is equidistant from the hole.