Golfers now have more time to fix scorecards

Golf

PINEHURST, N.C. — The temptation would be to refer to a change in the scorecard procedure as the “Jordan Rule,” only because Jordan Spieth was the most recent example. Players now have an additional 15 minutes to correct their scorecard before it is deemed to have been returned.

Players were informed at the U.S. Open of the change. The USGA adopted the amended definition of when a card is “returned” at the U.S. Women’s Open two weeks earlier. It now goes into effect on most major tours this week.

The PGA Tour said the goal was “minimizing penalties or disqualifications related to scorecard errors.”

Spieth was at Pinehurst No. 2 on the Sunday before the U.S. Open. He said Scott Langley, the USGA’s director of player relations, approached him and said, “This isn’t because of you. But this is what we’re doing here.”

The scorecard previously was considered “returned” when the player left the scoring area.

Spieth was battling stomach issues at Riviera when he made double bogey on the last hole for a 73, rushed up the hill to scoring, signed his card and hustled off to the bathroom. He inadvertently wrote down a 3 instead of a 4 on the par-3 fourth hole, and therefore signed for an incorrect score and was disqualified.

Under the new rule, he would have had 15 minutes to fix the mistake or for an official to find him and alert him to the error.

“For an honest mistake that I guess could be the difference in the tournament, I think it’s great,” Spieth said. “I don’t think it’s a skill of the game, especially at the professional level. If somebody plugged in a wrong score, they can go back and replug it in.”

As for the 15 minutes, there is a time stamp when a card is accepted, and the 15 minutes is not down to the second. It doesn’t happen very often, especially on the PGA Tour where scores are checked against a computer.

And there are exceptions. If a player stays in scoring for 15 minutes (Phil Mickelson is known to linger there), the scorecard would be considered returned when that player leaves the area. Also, the 15-minute rule could be affected by a playoff, or by tee times having to be posted immediately after a cut.

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