Under this new rule, you can no longer blame a spike mark for a missed putt

March 12, 2020

Bryson DeChambeau got social media buzzing last month when he tapped (more like hammered) his putter into the green at the WGC-Mexico Championship after a three-putt on the 14th hole. He appeared to be upset with some sort of imperfection on the green and was blaming it for his miss.

But why didn’t DeChambeau fix the perceived imperfection before he putted? Under the updated Rules of Golf, he’s now allowed to.

Scenario: There is an imperfection, such as a spike mark, in your line on the putting green.

Old rule: The previous rule stated you could only repair only ball marks and hole plugs. Tapping down spike marks, for example, was prohibited.

New rule: Now under Rule 13.1c “players may repair damage on the putting green without penalty by taking reasonable actions to restore the putting green as nearly as possible to its original condition.” Damage to the putting green is defined as ball marks or shoes damage, old hole plugs, animal tracks and damage caused by clubs or the flagstick. This rule is only permitted on the greens and not anywhere else on the course. The new rule eliminates most questions about what can and can’t be fixed on the course and speeds up play.

This rule also eliminates the oldest excuse in the book for a missed putt: blaming a spike mark in your line.

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