February 2, 2019 / 9:17 PM / 6 months ago

Golf - Penalty withdrawn as ruling bodies acknowledge new rule confusion

(Reuters) - A two-stroke penalty that was imposed on Denny McCarthy at the Phoenix Open on Friday has been rescinded as golf’s ruling bodies acknowledge confusion caused by a new rule that came into effect on Jan. 1.

American McCarthy was penalised after his caddie Derek Smith stood behind him before he played a wedge shot to the 15th green in the second round at TPC Scottsdale.

Rule 10.2b(4) prohibits a player from having his or her caddie deliberately stand behind him or her when the player begins taking a stance.

But there is confusion about what constitutes a player beginning to take a stance.

The PGA Tour removed the penalty on Saturday after consulting the U.S. Golf Association, which writes golf’s rules in conjunction with the Royal & Ancient Golf Club.

“The PGA Tour has been in constant contact with the USGA about how the new rule should be interpreted,” the tour said in a statement.

“It is clear that there is a great deal of confusion among players and caddies on the practical application of the new rule during competition, as well as questions surrounding the language of the rule itself and how it should be interpreted.

“We will be working vigorously with the USGA and The R&A over the coming days to further analyse and improve the situation with this rule. The USGA and The R&A will be making an announcement shortly.”

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; editing by Clare Fallon

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