I heard that there will be quite a few amendment to the Rules as of 1st January 2012, amongst these changes are:
Rule 18-2b – or ball moving after address – now comes with an exception that “exonerates the player from penalty if their ball moves after it have been addressed when it is known or virtually certain that they did not cause the ball to move.”
The example given: If it is a gust of wind that moves the ball after it has been addressed, there is no penalty and the ball is played from its new position.
As it was, the rule was one the harshest in the game, and was in the spotlight several times this season with U.S. Open winner Rory McIlroy and Webb Simpson, notable victims.
Said McLaughlin: “It has to be for the sole purpose of tidying up the bunker. If the rule is breached in any other way, the ruling is going to go against the player.
“That’s more for the recreational player than it is for the elite-level player, where somebody didn’t rake the footprints in the bunker before. It’s okay as along as it’s not going to influence your stroke.”
Another change will see the penalty for players arriving late – but within five minutes of their official starting time (Rule 6-3a) – reduced from disqualification to two strokes in stroke play and loss of the first hole in match play.
And for amateurs, there no longer is a limit applicable for hole-in-one prizes because of “the special nature of a hole-in-one.” However, restrictions for other “in-round” prizes for longest drive and nearest-the-hole contests remain.