PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — The PGA Tour rescinded the two-shot penalty given to Justin Rose before his final round Sunday in The Players Championship, changing its mind to say sophisticated TV technology was the only way to determine the violation.
It was the first time golf relied on Decision 18/4, written into the rule book for this year.
Rose was penalized after the third round when he addressed a chip shot off the 18th green, and suddenly backed away. Rose said he didn’t think the ball had moved from its original position after consulting with playing partner Sergio Garcia and seeing a replay on the video board. Only after a third television angle zoomed in was it clear that ball had moved ever so slightly. He was penalized under Rule 18-2b — one shot for the ball moving at address, another for returning it to its original position.
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His 71 was changed to a 73, and he went from five shots behind to seven shots behind the leaders.
When he teed off Sunday, Rose was back where he was at 7-under 209.
The tour’s statement indicated the reviewed the incident overnight because Decision 18/4 had yet to be used.
"The Rules Committee reopened the incident and focused on how much the use of sophisticated technology played a part in making the original ruling," the tour said in a statement. "After that review, it was determined that the only way to confirm whether and how much the ball in fact changed position was to utilize sophisticated technology.
Decision 18/4 waives the penalty if a ball movement is not "reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time" and required enhanced technology, such as HDTV. The example often cited by rules officials is when Peter Hanson had a double-hit that could not be detected except through HD in super slow-motion.
One reason cited for penalizing him in the first place was the way Rose backed away from the shot, aware that there might have been movement.
"The player’s determination that the ball had not moved was deemed to be conclusive and the penalty does not apply in this situation," the statement said.
Rose was informed about an hour before he teed off. He birdied two of the opening four holes and was three off the lead.