There are plenty of things that are wrong with the rules of golf. I’m sure we’re not the only one’s who are able to see this. From Rickie Fowler’s ridiculous knee height drop that resulted in a secondary penalty to J.B. Homes taking an hour to hit a shot and on to Sergio and Bryson destroying courses.
Backstopping, isn’t mentioned very often, though, and it is an actual issue.
As we saw on Friday at the Honda LPGA Thailand when Amy Olson and Ariya Jutanugarn colluded to work together on the 18th green and gave a fist-bump after doing so.
— Duncan French (@Teamfrench23) February 22, 2019
Jutanugarn pitched close to the hole from just off the 18th green, prepared to go mark or tap in, but looked at Olson. The world No. 1 put on the brakes upon getting a signal of some sort from Olson that she was ready to play with Jutanugarn’s ball resting by the hole and she agreed to leave it there.
You know, because it’s the last green and Olson’s got things to do and places to be.
The balls collided and Olson’s lousy chip went from 15-20 feet by, to 3 feet from the hole. Birdie.
As past backstopping incidents have all made clear, pro golfers are rarely in a hurry except when one of their peers leaves a shiny white ball somewhere around the hole. Then they turn into Lanny Wadkins. After all, they’re just trying to grow the game by playing faster. When it suits their needs.
Olson’s birdie off the back of Jutanugarn’s ball allowed her to move within two strokes of the Honda LPGA Thailand lead. Jutanugarn is at -4 after 36 holes, seven back of leader Jenny Shin.
All of that breaks rule 15.3/1 that says:
In stroke play, under Rule 15.3a, if two or more players agree to leave a ball in place on the putting green to help any player, and the stroke is made with the helping ball left in place, each player who made the agreement gets two penalty strokes. A breach of Rule 15.3a does not depend on whether the players know that such an agreement is not allowed.
For example, in stroke play, before playing from just off the putting green, a player asks another player to leave his or her ball that is near the hole, in order to use it as a backstop. Without knowing this is not allowed, the other player agrees to leave his or her ball by the hole to help the other player. Once the stroke is made with the ball in place, both players get the penalty under Rule 15.3a.
This non-sense, along with slow play and slamming clubs down into greens, should not be allowed.
The PGA Tour, who is very concerned with shorts being worn during practice and pro-am rounds, needs to take an actual stance on these issues or they’re going to end up with a huge headache.