Muirfield – Rules Summary


There were 234 rulings at the 2013 Open, which compares with 339 in 2012 at Lytham where a large number of rulings were given due to casual water on the course caused by the very wet summer.  The majority of the rulings given at Muirfield were relatively simple such as unplayable ball (18 rulings), identifying ball (17), interference from movable obstructions such as cables (20) and relief from immovable obstructions such as sprinkler heads (29), which underlines the importance of knowing the basics; however, the following incidents represent a selection of some of the more unusual or perhaps unfortunate rulings that occurred during the Championship.

Thomas Bjorn – Ball Strikes TV Camera

Thomas Bjorn had a smashing start to his first round of The 2013 Open Championship, when he found the rough with his tee shot. In playing his second from the rough, he managed to hit the ball into a TV camera, breaking its screen.

TV cameras positioned on the course are outside agencies so when a player’s ball in motion is deflected or stopped by any outside agency, it is a rub of the green and there is no penalty. The ball is then played as it lies (Rule 19-1).

A “rub of the green” is the term used to describe this deflection by an outside agency and it can produce some random results.  For example, Luke Donald’s third shot at the 9th hole during the first round benefitted from a rub of the green when the Englishman’s pulled approach shot first hit the top of the boundary wall before hitting the hospitality complex situated beyond the boundary and ricocheting back in bounds to the front of the green, allowing him to get up and down for a regulation par 5.

Bjorn, was not so fortunate in that he eventually finished with a double-bogey six for his opening hole but steadied to complete the round on two over. The TV camera, however, was rendered out of order!

Graeme McDowell – Ball Interfering with Play

Many viewers of the TV coverage of The Open on Friday witnessed Graeme McDowell on the 4th gre