In 2018 and before, there was a running joke among Rules Officials who spent any time officiating higher level events about players searching for their balls. They’d tell these tales at Rules Seminars across the land, and they’d typically involve a variation of “So, one day Adam Scott hits his ball in the weeds, and the marshal points to a general area, and so everyone in the gallery is traipsing around looking for the ball, and Adam Scott and his caddie are 30 yards that-a-ways ‘looking’ for his ball, when eventually…”.
The rest of the story is irrelevant, because the nugget is that Adam Scott and his caddie are “looking for his ball” nowhere near where the marshal or spectators indicated his ball was last seen.
Because in 2018 and before, if a player or his caddie accidentally moved the golf ball while searching for it, he was penalized one stroke under (2018) Rule 18-2 and required to replace the ball.
In 2019, under new Rule 7.4 “Ball Accidentally Moved in Trying to Find or Identify It,” there is no penalty if the ball is accidentally moved by the player, opponent or anyone else while trying to find or identify it.
The ball must still be replaced (and there are some details regarding whether or not the original location is precisely known), but there is no longer a penalty.
So, Adam Scott can actually look for his golf ball in the area in which it’s likely to be!
This is a very poor video. This scenario is exactly what should still be a penalty. Sweeping the feet like that is a deliberate action, not normal walking and not accidental. The USGA need to re-shoot before Augusta’s flower beds get scythed down
You don’t have to exhibit “normal walking” when you’re looking for your ball – you can kick at the grass to move leaves, brush the grass away, etc. while looking for your ball. If the ball does move accidentally (if he doesn’t see the ball, he can’t kick it on purpose), you have to replace it and re-create the lie.
If the above video is the endorsed standard then there will never be another penalty as every movement will be ‘accidental’.
See the ball from 5 yards away, in a poor lie, walk into it, move it and replace it in a more favourable lie.
The player cannot reasonably be expected to replace in the poor lie as he ‘never saw it’.
In my opinion if the storyboard had showed the player walking in the rough, looking for the ball and then freezing, bending down, checking the ball is his and then lifting and replacing a couple of inches that would be a more informative demonstration of an accidental movement.
We’re going to have to disagree that the video shows a poor example of “accidental” movement of the ball.
Note that this accidental movement is only allowed without penalty while searching (or on the putting green). “Accidentally” moving your ball in any other instance is still a breach of the Rules.
And, the Rules of Golf rely on the honor of the player to accurately re-create the lie. As you can see in the video, the player – who couldn’t see the ball from where he was kicking at the rough – really buries the ball down in the grass again.
You’re describing actual and outright cheaters, who by definition couldn’t care less what the Rules say. So while I appreciate that you feel this Rules change will give them cover, in my experience two things are generally true: people are generally honest and play with integrity, and people also tend to know who the cheats are, and watch them more closely.
These are official USGA videos put up on You Tube. This is their window to the world and the standard should be better. Your colleagues have already pointed out errors on some of the previous clips.
What would happen if Patrick Reid went through the rough like that at a major and subsequently won?