Saturday, March 9, 2013

Live from Seattle: Rules School Day 3

            The brain is a little fried and I’ll be taking the review fairly easy tonight.  While cramming has worked for me in the past throughout high school and college, I’ve been constantly looking at the Rules more in depth than I ever have for the past year and if I’m not ready for the exam by now, I never will be.  I’ll review some definitions and a few exceptions to make sure they stick.  Perhaps the 0.5 Decisions as well as those can be key, but I will get to sleep early and trust that I remember what the Rule says.
            One major premise I learned today, that actually required a revamp of my thinking, is worth review.

Rule 6-7

            Rule 6-7 has two notes appended to the end of the Rule.  The second allows the Committee to modify the penalties for a breach of Rule 6-7.  Popular pace of play policies, including those used by the USGA in their own competitions, had appeared to be in conflict with those approved modifications.  Today I asked why and how.
            The conflict is exemplified by the USGA’s Four-Checkpoint Pace of Play Policy (see Pace of Play page), which sets a Warning for the first offense.  Note 2 to 6-7 states that the Committee may modify the penalty to one stroke for the first offense (in stroke play) and loss of hole in match play.  This didn’t make sense to me.
            The explanation makes sense and makes it perfectly clear:  The modifications that the note permits apply to actual penalties being given to the player.  The Committee is permitted to create guidelines that give some leeway (ie a warning), but the Committee must adhere to Rule 6-7 and Note 2 once they start handing out penalties for breaches.  In other words, the Committee could otherwise two warnings if it so wished, but once the first penalty is given, it must adhere to the parameters set forth in the Rule.

            So, tomorrow morning is the test and my Road to 100 comes to an end.  Hopefully it ends successfully.  The perfect score is ultimately the goal, but even the best Rules minds in the country miss a question or two on the exam.  My only disappointment will be if I fail to improve upon my previous scores. Remember folks, “What does the Rule say?”

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