Three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo is the latest to chime in on golf’s ongoing rules discussion, and he stressed the importance of a level playing field for all competitors.
In short, some players are more susceptible to video review if they are on camera more than others.
“The problem we have, if you’re out at 8 in the morning and there’s no TV cameras and nobody watching you, and if you’re on television at 4 and 5 in the afternoon, the rules are different,” said Faldo on Monday, during a media call promoting this summer’s British Open at Royal Birkdale. “You can break exactly the same or do whatever infringement exactly the same at two different times of the day, one on TV and one not on television, and you’ll get a different ruling. So that is the issue we have. They have got to get an absolute level playing field whether somebody is watching you or not. I mean, that’s the big key for me.”
The Rules of Golf came to the forefront of the sport, most recently earlier this month, when Lexi Thompson was penalized for mismarking her ball on the green and playing from the wrong spot during the third round of the ANA Inspiration. A TV viewer notified the LPGA of the potential rules violation a day after it happened, and after reviewing the incident Thompson was penalized four strokes: two for the infraction and two more for signing an incorrect scorecard after that round. She lost the tournament in a playoff.
On Tuesday, a day after Faldo’s press conference, the USGA and R&A announced a decision to protect players from video review, which was likely accelerated due to what happened to Thompson. (As well as what happened to Anna Nordqvist at the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open.)
Faldo was also asked what he thinks the next step should be following the Thompson incident.
“I guess that the R&A and the USGA probably need to be a little bit more proactive,” he said. “Maybe all the players need to go to a rules seminar. There’s probably only two dozen rules that really affect every-day play on Tour, and I think the players have just got to be really brought up to speed with it. I mean, they have got to look after themselves, but they have got to do it correctly and they have got to know 100 percent. And everybody needs this. There’s always so much confusion. The caddies need to know. A player might say, ‘I can do this and I can do that,’ and even the caddie would say, ‘Oh, I’m not sure about that, Boss.’ That causes the confusion, and that’s a delay.”