On Tuesday, the USGA announced a rule change that will not penalize players if their golf ball’s movement can only be detected by “enhanced technological evidence.”
In what is being called “The Tiger Rule,” the rule states that “where enhanced technological evidence (e.g. HDTV, digital recording or online visual media, etc.) shows that a ball has left its position and come to rest in another location, the ball will not be deemed to have moved if that movement was not reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time.”
Decision 18/4, though, would only have eliminated one of Woods’s “disputable rules infractions this year” and would not have impacted the two-stroke penalty Woods received at the Masters for his infamous improper ball drop.
As Golf Channel notes, during the BMW Championship, Woods’s “ball moved slightly as he removed some debris from the surrounding area. Woods maintained that he couldn’t see the ball move, but “video evidence later showed that it did, resulting in what was previously a proper two-stroke penalty.
Under the new rule, Woods would not have been assessed a penalty as viewers would still be allowed to call in the infraction.
Golf Channel notes that “viewer call-ins – as well as injunctions from other social media platforms – will still be accepted in certain situations,” and it will not “eliminate controversy”:
Or just consider this scenario: Two players commit the exact same miniscule violation. One player sees it with his naked eye and assesses himself a penalty; the other doesn’t see it and doesn’t assess himself a penalty. Even though video replay shows the violations to be identical in their lack of intent, they’ve been scored correctly because of the language in Decision 18/4.