Summary Of Rules Incidents From First Two Rounds

Saturday, June 16, 2012

San Francisco – Each referee at the 112th U.S. Open Championship returns a card at the end of the round listing any rules incidents that occurred with their group. While the Lake Course at The Olympic Club does not have a significant number of hazards, there are still many issues that come up. And not every ruling results in a favorable result for the player.

The first round saw 78 incidents reported with 74 more during the second round. By having a walking referee with each group, the great majority of these are handled very quickly.  Of the 152 incidents, 115 were resolved in less than 3 minutes. Most of the remaining situations involved ball searches or a complicated relief from a Temporary Immovable Obstruction. Only three incidents took longer than 6 minutes to resolve. The walking referees supported by rovers allow the USGA to minimize delays keep play moving.

The sixth hole had 18 incidents, with the seventh (16) and the fifth (14) close behind. The par-3 15th hole had only two incidents the first two days.

Sometimes players request relief from something and it is not granted.  In other cases, players ask for relief and have it granted, but then after looking at where they might have to move the ball, opt to play it as it lies. There have been four incidents where a player decided not to take the relief he was entitled to.

Rule 24 (Obstructions) led the way with 43 incidents. Many of these involved the player’s ball or stance on a sprinkler head. Next were incidents involving the Temporary Immovable Obstructions (TIOs) that have been erected around the course. There have been 32 instances of balls finishing in a location where the player had some interference or intervention with a TIO.  The USGA has placed dropping zones in front of greenside TIOs so that a player who has interference from the TIO can move directly to the dropping zone. This has greatly improved the time to deal with what used to be a very complicated and time-consuming ruling.

Only twice has a player had to drop from the lateral water hazard that lines the left side of the 13th, 14th and 15th holes. Both of these were on the par-4 14th hole.

One of the more interesting rulings involved France’s Gregory Bourdy. As he made his first tee shot of the day on Friday from No. 9, he cracked the face of his driver. Rule 4-3 allows him to continue play with the driver for the rest of the round, have it repaired or, in this case as it was deemed not fit for play, to replace it. He had another driver head brought to him on the 16th tee with the intention of switching the shaft from the first driver into the second head. After looking at the head that had been brought out, he decided it was not a good match and opted to continue with the original club in its damaged state.

For more information on the Rules of Golf, go to the Rules of Golf page at or watch the Rules of Golf videos at

Written by John Van der Borght, Manager of Rules Communications for the USGA.

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