25 Jan 2011

R may look at rule changes

10:13 am on 25 January 2011

The Royal Ancient is taking a fresh look at its golfing rulebook after recent high-profile incidents involving Padraig Harrington, Camilo Villegas and Ian Poulter.

Harrington was disqualified from last week's Abu Dhabi Championship when he signed for an incorrect score after a television viewer noticed the triple major winner from Ireland had accidentally moved his ball on the green.

Colombian Villegas was also disqualified from this month's Tournament of Champions in Hawaii for a rules violation spotted by a TV viewer while Briton Poulter was penalised one shot after his marker touched his ball at the Dubai World Championship in November.

The RA's rules of golf director Grant Moir says they need to assess whether, at times, these penalties are still appropriate.

A new edition of the RA rulebook is brought in every four years and the next one is due to be published in January 2012.

Moir says one possible way forward was to offer a compromise to the existing regulations whereby a retrospective penalty could be given to a player after he had signed his card, without him being disqualified from a tournament.