These are the Rules of Golf changes that you need to know for match play

March 28, 2019

The revisions to the Rules of Golf that came into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, have changed the way you drop, putt (for some of you) and more, but they might also affect your next match play game, too.

With a nod to this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club, we thought we’d give you a refresher on the subtle changes to match play. For starters, some of the terminology has changed, most notably that “tied” is now preferred over “halved,” and “dormie” has been removed from the Rules of Golf.

A complete list of the terminology changes can be found here, but there’s also a set of rules changes you need to know when playing in your own matches at home.

Here’s a quick rundown of the changes you need to know:

– There is no longer a penalty for accidentally moving an opponent’s ball or ball marker on the green (previously a one-stroke penalty) or accidentally lifting an opponent’s ball on the green that you thought was yours (also used to be a one-stroke penalty)
The Jordan Spieth Rule? There is no longer a penalty for stopping an opponent’s ball in motion that needs to be holed to tie the hole when there is no reasonable chance the ball will be made (used to be loss of hole)
– There is no longer a penalty for accidentally moving an opponent’s ball while taking reasonable actions to apply a rule (used to be one-stroke penalty)
– There is no penalty and the ball should be played as it lies, except on the green where the stroke does not count and must be replayed, when a ball in motion accidentally hits an opponent, his or her caddie or the opponent’s equipment (the opponent used to have the opportunity to cancel the stroke and require you to replay it)

If the phrase “stopping an opponent’s ball in motion” and Spieth’s name sound familiar lumped together, you 1) have a great memory; and 2) are a big Presidents Cup fan. It was at the 2017 Presidents Cup at Liberty National in New Jersey when Spieth and Patrick Reed lost a hole due to this old rule.

The American duo lost the short par-4 12th hole of their four-ball match against Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen due to Spieth influencing the movement of Oosthuizen’s second shot. Oosthuizen putted from off the green and ran his ball well past the hole, which Spieth stopped with his putter before tossing back to Oosthuizen. Day was already in for birdie, so Oosthuizen’s ensuing birdie putt no longer mattered, or so Spieth thought. After a lengthy discussion with a rules official, Spieth and Reed lost the hole, although they eventually won 2 and 1.