The PGA Tour restored the two strokes Justin Rose had been penalized on Saturday after deciding Decision 18/4 of the Rules of Golf regarding high-defintion replays applied to the incident when his ball moved as he addressed it off the 18th green.
Rose's score goes from 73 in the third round to 71, and his total 54-hole score to 7-under-par 209. He had been penalized under Rule 18-2B that refers to playing a ball that has moved.
The 18/4 decision went into affect this year. It allows rules official to waive a penalty in situations in which technology such as high-definition TV, super slo-mo and cameras that can zoom to within inches of the ball picked up a motion that the player could not discern with the naked eye.
"We have this tool now [18/4] and it's a decision we asked for," said Mark Russell, the Tour's vice-president of rules and competition. "This is exactly why it's in there."
Rose stepped up to a chip shot in the second cut of rough behind the 18th green at the TPC Sawgrass Players Stadium Course. When he soled his wedge, he believed the ball might have moved. He and playing partner Sergio Garcia watched a replay on the large screen TV near the green and both agreed that the ball "oscillated," or moved slightly but did not change position.
After Rose made a par, he watched numerous replays with rules officials before signing his card. There was still a consensus that Rose was in the clear. However, a European Tour rules official from the United Kingdom called and said to his view, the ball moved.
Video was then shown from a Sky Sports camera angle and Rose then accepted the two-shot penalty and said his conscience was clear.
Rules officials began debating the issue Saturday night and on Sunday morning at about 10 a.m., consulted with Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and officials from the Royal and Ancient and the United States Golf Association. The decision was made that what Rose and Garica saw on the monitors around the green was a naked-eye view and that 18/4 came into play.
Rose was brought to the rules committee trailer at about 11:15 a.m. when he arrived at the course, and told of the decision by Stephen Cox, one of the Tour's rules officials.
Cox said Rose's first reaction wasn't relief or joy that he got the two strokes back before his final round in the biggest event on the PGA Tour.
It was whether the reversal would reflect negatively in any way on him.
"I told him it was important that this ruling be made and that it would have no bearing on his integrity," Cox said. "He took it with grace."
Garry Smits: (904) 359-4362