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PGA Tour announce massive change to scorecard rules

It never fails to cause controversy when a top pro falls foul of a scorecard error. But these new PGA Tour scorecard rules change everything

 

Its critics have labelled it the “dumbest rule in sports”. The crime? Getting the scorecard wrong.

Every time a player comes a cropper – with Jordan Spieth the latest victim when he was disqualified from the Genesis Invitational – swathes of pundits, pros, and social media users pile in to question the punishment.

With TV, scoreboard monitors, and live leaderboards tracking every stroke, is a penalty or disqualification for a scorecard error just too great?

It’s obviously been on the PGA Tour’s mind because they’ve just announced a change to their terms of competition that amends when a scorecard is defined as returned.

While the importance of getting the right digits and signing a card still remains, the changes could have a big impact for players who realise they’ve made a mistake, or officials who find one.

Many organisations, such as the R&A in their championships, would say “a player’s scorecard is officially returned to the Committee when the player has physically left the building”.

But ahead of this week’s Travelers Championship, the PGA Tour, working with the USGA, R&A and DP World Tour, told players they now have a 15-minute window to sort out any errors on their card. And that’s even if they have left the scoring area.

pga tour scorecard changes

What are the new PGA Tour scorecard rules?

The change was revealed by PGA Tour pro Michael Kim, who tweeted the new arrangements, contained in a player memo, to his 120,000 followers.

The memo reads: “Across all our tours and other major golf organisations, a player’s scorecard is considered ‘returned’ to the Committee once the player has left the defined scoring area.

“The PGA Tour has been working with the USGA, R&A and DP World Tour to amend this definition, with the goal of minimizing penalties or disqualifications related to scorecard errors.

“We are pleased to announce that an amendment to ‘scorecard returned’ will now provide a player a 15-minute window to correct an error on his scorecard, even if he has left the scoring area. This means:

  • If a scorecard is validated in the scoring system and the player has left the scoring area, he may return to correct an error within 15 minutes of its validation.
  • If a player has left the scoring area and an error is identified before the scorecard is validated in the scoring system, he may return to correct the error within 15 minutes of the error being identified by the scoring official.
  • If a player is in the scoring area when the 15 minutes expires, his scorecard is returned when he leaves the scoring area.

“In general, all players will have the ability to correct an error within this 15-minute period which may have previously resulted in a penalty or disqualification.

“However, exceptions may apply when constraints within the competition limit a player’s correction time to less than 15 minutes, such as releasing tee times following the cut, starting a playoff, or the close of the competition.

“With the support of the USGA and R&A, this amendment to our terms of the competition will go into effect on the PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions, Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour Americas the week of June 17-23, 2024. The DP World Tour will implement it also.”

Now have your say

What do you make of these new PGA Tour scorecard rules? Is it about time, and should we get the same leeway in club competitions? Let me know by leaving me a comment on X.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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