February 15, 2019

Rules of Golf - PGA Tour Cancels a Round

Twenty-three golfers began play in the rain and fog, but play was quickly suspended and the round was cancelled

The PGA Tour is holding the Genesis Open at Riveria Country Club near Los Angeles. The first round began at 6:40 a.m. on Thursday in some questionable weather. It was raining, the course was already very wet, and it was foggy. Mark Russell, PGA Tour’s VP of Rules & Competitions, believed the weather was going to get better, but it actually got worse. Just 40 minutes after play began, the Rules Committee decided to suspend play. 

They started play in very adverse weather and only 23 players got a chance to start their round. No one played more than two holes. The Committee, working with their meteorologists, determined that play might be able to resume in the afternoon after the storms pass. The Rules Committee was in a unique situation; do they cancel the round and restart it; or do they resume play where they left off?

Normally, you almost never want to cancel strokes players have taken during a round because of weather, but this situation is unique. Those 23 players played less than two holes in very adverse conditions and when the tournament resumes all players will play in decent conditions. Using the guidance in the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf (copied below), the Committee cancelled the round and all players restarted round one again. All strokes made Thursday morning were wiped off the record so all players will play in similar conditions.

In stroke play there is no set guidance for when a Committee should cancel a round. The proper action depends on the circumstances in each case and is left to the judgment of the Committee.

A round should be cancelled only in a case where it would be very unfair not to cancel it. For example, a small number of players begin a round under extremely bad weather conditions, conditions subsequently worsen and further play that day is impossible, but when play will resume the next day the weather is ideal.

When a round is cancelled, all scores and penalties during that round are cancelled. That would normally include any disqualification penalty, but, if a player is disqualified for a serious misconduct (see Rule 1.2) or for a breach of the Code of Conduct, that disqualification should not be cancelled.

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