A New USGA Rule Change
So the USGA is making a rule change to make the game more fair. If the ball moves on the putting green by wind, etc … or if you accidentally move the ball … it’s not a penalty.
I’m pleased … but not excited. They were the ones who made the goofy rule in the first place.
I do appreciate their attempt to use common sense and make golf more fair. But the definition of fair is not the same to everybody. In fact, it’s probably at the root of much political and philosophical debate.
You all know the saying “Life’s not fair”. I agree with it. But, I don’t agree with using that saying as a license to not be fair in your dealings with people. Nature is unfair – a tornado might hit your house but not your neighbor’s house – life’s not fair. Your neighbor might hire you and your brother to help him clean up his yard. You might do more of the work and he might pay you both the same amount – that’s not fair. He has a right to not be fair – but now you know what kind of a person he is, and probably not someone to do business with.
As to the Rules of Golf. Of course I think they should be fair. But, I think there should only be a rule, if a rule is needed to play the game. For example: if the point of golf is to hit a ball from the tee box to the bottom of the hole on the green … there needs to be rules to define the game – such as you hit the ball with a club only (you don’t throw it) … and you need a rule to continue the game if you lose your ball.
I think the fewer rules, the better. By adding rules to make it more fair is misguided and arrogant … and complicates the beauty of the pure simplicity of the game.
Civilized society is based on the rule of law – not the whims of rulers. But more laws doesn’t mean a better and more civilized society. I hope the USGA is just beginning to start overhauling the rule book. Tyranny can come in many forms – not just a tyrant. A mob can be a tyrant. And an organization can be a tyrant – even if it’s well intended.
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GM and Head Golf Professional