Rules of Golf amended for correcting scorecard errors

FAR HILLS, N.J. -- The rule that got Mark Roe disqualified
from the British Open two years ago when he forgot to swap
scorecards with Jesper Parnevik has been revised to allow officials
to correct the mistake without penalty.
That was among the 111 amendments to the "Decisions on the
Rules of Golf," which take effect Jan. 1.
Other changes allow for measuring devices, such as GPS systems
or rangefinders, to be used at the discretion of tournament
organizers. The Tight Lies Tour began using a GPS system this year
for players who can't afford caddies, hoping it would speed play.
The PGA and European tours, among other top circuits, allow
caddies or players to use rangefinders only during practice rounds.
The U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club also
agreed to add a decision that would allow players to stand square
to the hole if their intent is to stay out of another player's
line. That got Brian Davis of England disqualified from a European
tour event, and Tiger Woods was investigated -- and cleared -- when
it appeared he did that on the 14th hole of the first round at this
year's Masters.
For Roe, the scorecard revision comes two years too late.
He shot 67 in the third round at Royal St. George's that left
him in a tie for fourth with Woods, two shots out of the lead. He
played with Parnevik that day, but they forgot to swap scorecards
on the first tee.
When the round was over, Parnevik's score (81) was posted on
Roe's card while Roe's 67 was under Parnevik's name. Under strict
interpretation of the rules, they were disqualified.
"I think it's a great move," Roe said Tuesday. "I'm really,
really pleased that something good has come from my mistake,
really. I'd like to think that the way I handled it at the time,
and what I went through, was probably a small factor in their
decision to look at it."
Under the revised decision, such an "administrative error" can
be fixed without penalty as local officials will be allowed to
strike the wrong name from an otherwise correct card and add the
right name.
Roe would have played with Woods in the final round, which
"would have been the greatest day in my career." He said he
watched TV coverage of the final round, won by rookie Ben Curtis,
and when it was time to award the silver claret jug, went upstairs
and cried.
"The emotion came after, perhaps even more so with a relatively
unknown who won it, and the way it was won, made me think that
could have been me," he said.
The "Decisions of the Rules of Golf," which contain more than
1,200 incidents, is published every two years. The Rules of Golf is
amended every four years.
Roe realizes he will forever be linked to a scorecard mistake,
and often plays in pro-ams where someone will say, "Don't give Roe
the card."
"It may happen again," he said. "But obviously now, no one
will be punished."