Golf Rules: Wrong drop costs Rory McIlroy two strokes

At the start of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and its proud prize money of 20 million US dollars, Rory McIlroy had to accept a severe penalty. Golf Post takes a look at the rules and reveals where you can drop the ball in the event of a relief.

Rules of golf: What did Rory McIlroy do wrong?

In Round 1 of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am 2024, Rory McIlroy’s ignorance proved to be the Northern Irishman’s undoing. In his first appearance on the PGA Tour this year, “Roars” had to accept a severe penalty after his tee shot on hole 7 of the Spyglass Hill Golf Course rushed into the botany of the par 5. The four-time major winner found his ball in the deep grass under one of the pine trees at Pebble Beach. Initially, the Northern Irishman considered hitting the ball from there before finally deciding to take relief. But when he dropped the ball, a rule change from the beginning of 2023 had consequences for the European’s scorecard.

The rules of golf on the back-on-the-line relief

McIlroy dropped the ball right of a tee, that was supposed to act as the reference line to the pin, with a clear conscience within one club length of the line. He continued his game and finished the par 5 with a bogey, but his relief to the right of the imaginary straight had an aftermath. What had been permitted since 2019 and until the beginning of 2023 has since been changed. A look at the official rules of golf provides information on the correct procedure for the drop. Rule 19.2b (relief “back on the line”) states this:

The player may drop the original ball or another ball (see Rule 14.3) behind the spot of the original ball, keeping the spot of the original ball between the hole and the spot where the ball is dropped (with no limit as to how far back the ball may be dropped). The spot on the line where the ball first touches the ground when dropped creates a relief area that is one club-length in any direction from that point, but with these limits:

Limits on Location of Relief Area:

  • Must not be nearer the hole than the spot of the orignal ball, and
  • May be in any area of the course, but
  • Must be in the same area of the course that the ball first touched when dropped.

The penalty for a false drop

McIlroy’s mistake was to take the relief one club length to the right of the reference line. The ball is allowed to fall on the line and roll up to one club length in either direction. However, Rory took a club length off the line and dropped it into what he thought was a relief area. That was still correct in 2019, but it changed in 2023. As a result, he acted against the rules by not dropping the ball again and was penalised two strokes under Rule 14.3 (4) (“What to do if Ball Dropped in Wrong Way”):

If the player does not drop again and instead makes a stroke at the ball from where it came to rest after being dropped in a wrong way:

If the ball was played from the relief area, the player gets one penalty stroke (but has not played from a wrong place under Rule 14.7a).

But if the ball was played from outside the relief area, or after it was placed when required to be dropped (no matter where it was played from), the player gets the general penalty.

It was this general penalty (two penalty strokes in counting play) that was to be McIlroy’s undoing on the leaderboard. The 34-year-old learnt of the penalty after the end of the round, accepted the rules’ interpretation and signed his scorecard. Three strokes under par became just one stroke under par, because his single bogey turned into a triple bogey. The officials discovered the offence through the use of the video team that takes care of the reviews.

Rory McIlroy: “I wasn’t aware that that rule was changed”

Rory McIlroy analysed the offence after the round: “[U]nbeknownst to me, the rule changed in January 2023 where you used to be able to come back on-line, take a club length either side. That was changed in 2019 to be able to do that. I wasn’t aware that that rule was changed again in 2023, so I took a drop thinking of the 2019 rules when everything was sort of changed, not knowing that the rule was changed again in 2023, so got a two-stroke penalty there.”

Professionals Rules

Koepka’s caddie, Lydia Ko’s misunderstanding and more – The most bizarre rule situations in 2023

In 2023, there were also some curious rules situations. In addition to the ignorance of the golfers, the triggers included a hit golf cart and a forgotten club in the tournament bag. The intervention of the officials often had bitter consequences and shattered a few dreams this year. One thing is certain, whether quintuple bogey or disqualification, a glance at the rules would have prevented a number of situations.

Aerated greens: Honesty wins over course record

Tommy Kuhl, college golfer, experienced emotional ups and downs at a local US Open qualifying tournament. First, he broke the course record (62) at Illini Country Club and made it to the next qualifying stage. But the player from the University of Illinios had a rude awakening when he spoke to his teammates. When they mentioned after the end of the round how difficult they had found it to putt on aerated Greens, the student realized that he had repaired the effects of aerification more than once. According to Rule 13.1c, repairs can be made, but there is a clear reference to soil aeration: “Damage to the Green does not include damage or conditions caused by normal maintenance work to preserve the Green (such as soil aeration holes and grooves from scarifying).” This gave Kuhl a “queasy feeling” and as he could not reconcile this with his conscience, he let the officials know about his actions. As a result, he indirectly disqualified himself, his course record was annulled and his dream of a US Open was to remain a dream.

Rare faux pas costs qualification for PGA tournament

The next tragic but also honest character in the year’s rule situations is Hayden Springer. The Texan made a momentous gaffe in the final of the qualifying tournament for the Rocket Mortgage Classic. On Monday, it was a four-player play-off for the three spots for the tournament itself in the same week. Before that, Springer practiced on the driving range after his round of 66, which qualified him for the play-off, and waited for the rest of the field. On the range, he practiced with a club that had not previously been part of his 14-strong tournament bag. When he walked onto the fairway at Fieldstone Golf Club in Auburn Hills on the first playoff hole after teeing off, it sent shivers down his spine. Hayden Springer remembered that the 15th club was still in the bag. He immediately reported the mistake to the rules officials, which is particularly creditable as nobody knew about it. He then played par on the first play-off hole like two of his competitors, while one of the other three players only recorded bogey. In purely playing terms, Springer would have made it. But despite his integrity, the rules had to be adhered to and he received two penalty strokes for the infringement. The resulting double bogey cost him his long-awaited qualification for the PGA Tour event.

Debut ends quickly: Lack of knowledge is no defense against penalties

Another bitter situation was experienced by Zach Williams. The 24-year-old American won a spot in the June Memorial Health Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour via a Monday Qualifier. It was his debut on the tour and it was to end very quickly after two holes. Williams used his rangefinder on hole 1, as he had done on Monday, and was penalized two strokes. On the second hole, the same offense led to the American’s immediate disqualification. The Korn Ferry Tour allows distance aids in qualifying tournaments, but not in official events. The player in question commented on X (formerly Twitter) about the “hard to swallow” breach of the rules. There, Williams said he thought the Korn Ferry Tour had adjusted the rules and that you were allowed to use the rangefinder at the other pro events. However, he also admitted that he should have known about this rule.

Lydia Ko’s unfortunate misunderstanding leads to seven penalty strokes

A player who no longer has to worry about qualifying is Lydia Ko. As a two-time major winner and former number one in the world rankings, the New Zealander is a permanent fixture on the LPGA Tour. But even a multiple tournament winner is not immune to problems with the rules. At the Dana Open in July, replacing the ball was made possible without penalty for the entire third round after heavy rainfall. When round 4 started on Sunday, the pro assumed that this would continue to apply. But on the 11th hole, the officials realized what had long been forbidden at Highland Meadows Golf Club on Sunday, except for holes 1 and 10.

Ko generally assumed replacing the ball was still possible and made use of it on the fairways of holes 3 (par), 7 (par) and 9 (bogey). As she never returned her ball to its original position, she was penalized two strokes for each offence under Rule 14.7a for playing from the wrong position. On the 11th hole, she was given an additional stroke under Rule 9.4 for deliberately picking up the cue ball. However, she continued to play from the original position. So four strokes under par became two over on the leaderboard. This was tantamount to dropping 41 spots.

Upsetting rule situation: Defending champion with a start to forget

Anna Davis won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur last year. But in April 2023, things went wrong right from the start. The 17-year-old started with a bogey on hole 1, but that wasn’t the problem. It was the following: On hole 1, she picked up her ball twice, as is customary when changing the ball position. But then the officials intervened. On the Champions Retreat Course next to Augusta National, changing the ball position in the first round was allowed, but only on short grass and not, as in Davis’ case, in the rough. The amateur conceded two penalty strokes per offense in Georgia. Result: Quintuple bogey. According to the youngster, she had asked her scorer whether repositioning would apply everywhere. In spite of his lack of knowledge, the scorer answered in the affirmative and the bogey turned into a five-shot loss. The US-American took it sportingly and saw it as an “instructive experience”. In the end, she missed the cut.

Controversial decision by a few centimeters costs PGA Tour Card

The final round of the Korn Ferry Tour in Indiana was the deciding round for next year’s PGA Tour Cards. Then, at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, Shad Tuten involuntarily attracted the attention of the officials. He was already certain that he was one of the top 30 players with a playing license and went into the clubhouse. But according to the rules officials, the 31-year-old made a mistake on hole 15 following a trip into the rough. When he placed the ball back on the ground after the “lift, clean and place” procedure, it rolled forward by a few centimetres. Tuten played on, but the barely visible movement had an aftermath. He was subsequently penalized two strokes. The birdie on hole 15 turned into a bogey and 30th place into 32nd. This meant that his eligibility to play on the PGA Tour, which he thought was certain, was history, as Rule 14.2e states that you have to try again to place a ball that does not come to rest. The committee therefore decided in accordance with Rule 14.7b: “The result with the ball that was played from the wrong location counts and the player incurs the basic penalty under Rule 14.7a in addition to the result with this ball (this means that two penalty strokes are added to the result with this ball).”

Uproar surrounding Brooks Koepka’s caddie at the US Masters 2023

Things got heated in the first round of the US Masters 2023. But not because of Brooks Koepka, who hit a 5-iron onto the green on hole 15 with his second shot and later putted for birdie. It was because of Ricky Elliott, the caddie of the five-time major winner, who apparently said something to his flight partner Gary Woodland and his caddie. “Five” is said to have been the word of agitation, which he probably used to refer to Koepka’s club. Koepka’s hand movement when taking off his glove was also scrutinized as suspicious. However, this would have violated Rule 10-2a, which prohibits giving advice to other caddies or players and is punishable by two penalty strokes. Whether the player is directly involved or only his caddie is giving advice is irrelevant. The Masters officials therefore questioned those involved, but they denied the accusations. Koepka did not consider Elliot to be at fault, as Woodland is even said to have asked him which club he had used on the way to the Green. In the end, the incident went without a penalty and the caddie’s behavior went unpunished, although the upset was significant.

“One in a Million”: Matthias Schwab hits golf cart and spectacularly drops the ball

The next incident was not about a potential penalty, but about the question of how to deal with a strange situation. Matthias Schwab missed his shot during the first round of the 2023 Players Championship and the ball flew towards the spectators as the Austrian shouted “Fore”. The golf cart of the Sky television team led by German reporter Flo Bauer drove past on the cart path and the ball got caught in the vehicle. The crew hit the brakes and an official came to the rescue. The elderly gentleman asked Schwab to put a tee under the cart and mark the spot. Bauer then drove out of the way and things continued in a strange way. Because when the Austrian dropped his ball on the tarred surface, the ball didn’t move an inch despite several bounces and came to rest. You really rarely see a drop like that!

Highlights Tours Knowledge Rules

Fourball – an exciting form of tournament play

Fourball (also called bestball or fourball) is played in golf with two, three or four players per team. Each golfer in a team plays his or her own ball. However, after each hole, only the best score is included in the team score. If one player locks in a four and the team partner needs five or more strokes, only the four is scored.

The fourball format holds some tactical possibilities: In the team it can be decided, for example, that one player plays more on risk and attacks the flag directly in order to win the hole (in match play). The other team partner tries to provide back-up by trying to place the ball safely on the green and thus take the pressure off. Who takes on which role depends on the current game situation.

Fourball with numerous variations

If a player with a very low handicap competes against players with a higher handicap, another variant is conceivable: The strong golfer is on his or her own and plays alone against a team that can take advantage of the synergy. In addition, the pairing of low handicap with high handicap is advantageous in fourball tournaments played according to Stableford. Such tournaments are often offered at the beginning or end of the season, when the course is not yet or no longer in the best condition.

In stroke play, the best scores of all the holes played by a team are added together and the total number is counted at the end of the course. In match play, as it is played at the Ryder Cup or Solheim Cup for example, you play against your opponents for each hole. The team that needs fewer strokes for the respective hole gets a point. In the event of a tie, the hole is split – both teams receive half a point. The team that wins the most holes wins the match.

Highlights Tours Knowledge Rules

Foursome format – the rules in match play

In foursomes, two teams (usually two players each) compete against each other. Within a team, players take turns stroke by stroke: Player “A” tees off. Once at the ball, player B takes the second shot with the same ball. This continues until the respective team has holed the ball in team work.

A tactically extremely important decision is made by the team before the match even begins: the two team members agree on who will tee off on the even holes and who will tee off on the odd holes. Depending on who feels confident with their driver or irons, the par 3 and par 5 holes can be divided accordingly.

Foursomes – Matchplay with your partner

Foursomes can be played both as stroke play and as match play. Alltough the match play variant is the most common and is also played in this form at major team events such as the Ryder Cup and the Solheim Cup. In English, the foursomes format of play is also often referred to as the “Alternate Shot”.

The Foursome Teams at the Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup

In major tournaments such as the Ryder Cup or the Solheim Cup, the captains of both teams have to take great care in deciding their lineups for the foursomes format. Playing strength and current form must be factored into the decision on pairings, but equally the captains would have to pay attention to the human element in the lineup – the players must function as a team.

In addition, golfers should ideally complement each other in many ways. For example, a popular option is to pair rookies, who are on the team for the first time in a major tournament, with an experienced player. Some pairings have already proven themselves in previous events and have a strong record together – so it is logical not to change anything. In the end, gut feeling certainly plays a not insignificant role in the pairing of the captains.


Two weeks after surgery: Bryson DeChambeau trains one-handed

Two weeks ago, Bryson DeChambeau underwent surgery on his left hand, and now he’s back on the golf course. But even “The Hulk” has not made a miraculous recovery after this short time, but uses an unusual technique to hit a few balls despite his handicap. On the video platform TikTok, he presents his attempts at a one-armed golf swing – with success, mind you. As unusual as it may seem at first, the exercise makes perfect sense.

“DeChambeau out-hits our group one-handed”

First, DeChambeau posted a video from the driving range on Monday. You can see (of course) a drive of the longhitter, including the spin of the club after the shot.

But that was not the end of the story for DeChambeau. Together with former NFL kicker Josh Scobee, they went out for a round of golf and there, too, DeChambeau showed that you can also make up a few yards with just your right hand. His teammate’s comment: “No big deal, just Bryson DeChambeau hitting the ball one-handed past our group.”

Playing with one hand as a useful training method

Regardless of whether it is forced or voluntary, it makes sense to play one-handed strokes from time to time. Due to the lack of support from the second hand, the muscle groups are used more during the stroke and the swing movement occurs more consciously. In addition, the stability in the core of the body is strengthened and due to the higher strain on the muscles, the strength training for more length is also included. To train on the range with this technique you don’t need any special equipment, just a golf club and a few balls.
To start, it should be a short iron. With this iron, you first make a few practice swings with the right hand and focus especially on the movement of the shoulders, hips and back. A little tip: For more control over the club, you can grip a little lower than usual. Then follow up with a few strokes with the ball, keeping the unused hand on the hip or back. Repeat with the left hand before hitting a few balls with both hands and the normal golf grip.

Driver Equipment

TaylorMade Stealth: A new era begins for golf equipment

The Stone Age, Bronze Age and Titanium Age are over – long live the Carbon Age. At least if TaylorMade has its way. Much of the new TaylorMade Stealth series revolves around the material, which is simultaneously strong but also feather-light. Dive into the new age of golf equipment.

TaylorMade Stealth stands out.

TaylorMade is quite familiar to our company, as we work closely with their latest product launches. First, both parties formally agree that no information will leak out before the official release date. Afterwards, they present the technologies, advantages and details of the new products. There is some spare time to ask questions to the engineers on site before it is over. Finally, it’s off to a driving range or golf course to see the new toy in action and take first pictures and videos.

This year things were a little different at TaylorMade. Our colleague from Golf Post, Johannes Gärtner lived the entire TaylorMade experience, and he knew that something extraordinary was coming. Walking through a specially constructed “disco tunnel” at the European headquarters, a show room was waiting. The theme was the great changes in humanity. Starting with the invention of the wheel, followed by the automobile and the moon landing. TaylorMade is really coming on strong.

TaylorMade masters the “Carbonwood” equipment

During the presentation, Gärtner was handed a driver head that had been disassembled into all its individual parts. The clubface of the new TaylorMade Stealth Drivers is made of carbon, not titanium as usual. This is also the reason for the new term “Carbonwood”, which TaylorMade immediately had protected as a trade mark.

The new face of the TaylorMade Stealth Driver is not only made of carbon, but also in deep red. (Photo: TaylorMade)

English-speaking golfers coined the term “metalwood” after the first major material innovation. Now it is to be the carbon woods that change the game of golf forever, just as the first “metalwoods” once did. Admittedly, this technology is not entirely new. TaylorMade has been working on carbon club faces for about 20 years now.

However, this technological possibilities have not always existed. Back in 2013, there was a strictly limited special promotion that was only available to the Japanese market. TaylorMade Gloire used a carbon face for the first time back then. Moreover, it is a question of cost and use ratio. What it started as a dream became true, TaylorMade has now succeeded, but the new drivers cost more than in previous years.

The first impression

Besides this big surprise, they also presented fairway woods, rescues and an iron set, which belong to the new TaylorMade Stealth family as well. In contrast to the drivers, they are (still) equipped with a traditional titanium face. However, the topic of carbon still plays a big role, as more and more parts in the club head are being replaced with this wonder material. It is extremely stable, holds the driver together and weighs significantly less.

The next day Johannes Gärtner gave it a try at the North Hants Golf Club driving range. There, Justin Rose grew up and was immortalised everywhere in the clubhouse. It is customary to have a small tee box of one’s own to prevent passers-by from seeing the new clubs. To keep them secret while testing them on the course becomes more difficult. Therefore, a huge TaylorMade tent isolated us from the rest and we were not allowed to take photos or videos of the clubs. The new clubs should remain a secret at all costs. At the end, the Americans proved to be exceptionally fond of the clubs.

TaylorMade makes it unforgettable

The feel and sound of the shot with a TaylorMade Stealth Driver are completely contrary to what you have experienced so far. It also feels like the ball sticks to the clubface at first. This is actually due to the fact that the ball has longer contact with the driver because of the carbon construction. After that, it whizzes away. Equipped with a Trackman and new TP5, the statistics validated the first feeling. With the same club head speed, the TaylorMade Stealth drivers deliver more ball speed.

More carbon in the wood and hybrid

The woods also cut a fine figure. The red colour theme is reminiscent of the M5 and M6 generation. The differences to the predecessor models are not that drastic in comparison with the Drivers. Nevertheless, the trained eye perceives small nuances. In particular, a small aiming aid at the top of the clubface and a visible edge at the end of the club. Both help to orientate better.

In addition, the shaping and weighting also experience minor changes that optimise the desired parameters. More forgiveness, a little larger clubface and a come more speed – true to the motto: “A little better every year.”

As with the woods, there is more carbon in the crown of the hybrids – or as TaylorMade calls them, rescues. The same game as always. Weight is saved at one corner in the club, redistributed so that in the end stability, centre of gravity and speed can be improved.

The two fairway woods appeal to different target groups. (Photo: TaylorMade)

TaylorMade Stealth – hot irons

The look of the TaylorMade Stealth irons is extremely close to that of the popular P7 family. Surely, a big step in the right direction. Game Improvement irons have always been thick, chunky, round, big and/or fat. This optical problem has been taken up again and again in recent years in order to improve it. The predecessor models, on the other hand, look much more backward.

In the Game Improvement category, the new TaylorMade Stealth iron is definitely an eye-catcher. (Photo: TaylorMade)

One particular change concerns the tip of the head. With the toe-wrap technology, weight is strategically redistributed within the club. In addition, there is only one set of irons, not two different ones as usual.

Separate variant for the ladies

In recent years, TaylorMade has not had an extra colour option for women golfers. Luckly, this changed. Small adjustments in head weight, angles, shaft and grip tailor these clubs specifically to the preferences of most ladies so they can play to their full potential. However, the core technologies are all the same as for the men.

Text from Johannes Gärtner

Panorama Training

How Golf keeps you healthy from head to toe – Breaking stereotypes

What is not written about fitness, which promotes our golf game, about what golf can do to us. The list of health benefits of golf is endless, the golf cosmos is full of medical treatises and gymnastic instructions. Who wouldn’t know that golf is a sport played primarily between the ears? The mental component affects the constitution. And vice versa. “Mens sana in corpore sano”, a healthy mind in a healthy body: this is mutually dependent.

Play golf longer, live longer

There are enough studies on this. The Swedes found that golfers who play regularly – about twice a week – live on average five years longer than non-golfers. The Karolinska Institute analysed the lifespan of around 300,000 active golfers who were born after 1920 and started playing golf before 2001. Ageing through play, in other words. Who doesn’t wish for a longer healthy life? You’re only one club away to achieve so.

“Moderate physical activity, such as golf, increases life expectancy,” says Dr Andrew Murray, head of the Golf & Health Project at the University of Edinburgh. The sport supports the prevention and treatment of more than 40 major chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer. It also helps with psychiatric conditions such as depression and dementia, and simply promotes health and well-being.

Playing one round of golf a week already adds to the quality of life in the long run. (Getty Images)

Care your mind. Golf is a mental sport

The reasons are as obvious as they are plausible. “Golf is a mental sport with aerobic and thus healthy exercise in the fresh air and in the green – and that for several hours. It doesn’t get any better than that,” says Hamburg preventologist Andrea S. Klahre, who, as a therapist for mind-body medicine and prevention coach, is professionally concerned with the coherence of body and mind.

For the therapist, the game is pure Zen beyond its “swing-technical, anatomical, physiological and also preventive aspects”. “Golf, played alone, is a kind of movement meditation and, like sitting meditation, changes the brain waves in centres that are responsible for attentional performance and the ability to cope with stress,” clarifies Klahre. “In addition, the autonomic nervous system is regulated, in the sense of a relaxation reaction.”

It is precisely this combination of flexibility, endurance and alertness that makes golf the ideal form of training for many existing ailments, from exhaustion syndromes to respiratory diseases. Or simply as a school for concentration, “as long as holistic health awareness can be promoted at the same time,” adds Klahre.

Training from head to toe – Complete sport

The key data of the time- and above all age-less game are well known, but cannot be repeated often enough: an 18-hole round burns at least 1,200 calories, five to ten kilocalories per minute. In contrast to other ball sports, such as football or tennis, golf burns mainly fats. This lowers blood fat levels, especially LDL cholesterol, which is harmful to the cardiovascular system. A skilful swing also tenses 124 of a total of 434 muscles. So training from head to toe.

A skilful full swing tenses 124 of a total of 434 muscles (Getty Images)

Golf is benefitial and this is why

Golf is a passion for many people. Some go to the range five times a week, others only twice a month – but all golfers have one thing in common: the fun of hitting the little white ball. Golf takes place in the fresh air, in nature. You move around a lot, you are often out for 4-5 hours. “Golf is good for your health,” some say. “Golf ruins your back,” say others.
What does golf actually do to our psyche? The series “Golf and Health” deals with these questions and statements and helps to get a better insight into the health of our beloved sport.

Change of mind – Golf is for healthy

When people think of golfers, they no longer think of overweight gentlemen with cigars in their mouths. The sport has become more athletic, thanks in part to Tiger Woods. Young junior golfers therefore train specifically and holistically – also to prevent injuries. The series “Golf and Health” deals, for example, with whether and how the modern golf swing is related to back problems. The amateur golfer also gains interesting insights, e.g. why golf is a health sport and offers the perfect relaxation for the mind.

Striving for a healthy swing

However: “Healthy golfing has nothing to do with the pursuit of a better handicap, but is the pursuit of an individual, but also healthy golf swing,” Prof. Dr. Eduard David, physiologist at the private university of Witten-Herdecke, said years ago.

More than any other sport, golf is suitable for everyone, young and old. And with optimal interaction, the game is the perfect sport for brain, heart, soul and all other systems. Golf should be available on prescription!


World Rankings: Would You Make the Cut?

Official World Golf Ranking Governing Board announces updates to the Ranking System
Modified system for the 23 Eligible Golf Tours to go into effect Week Ending 14th August 2022.

London, United Kingdom – The Governing Board of Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) today announces enhancements to the Official World Golf Ranking. The updated system will incorporate modern statistical techniques which will allow all eligible players and events to be more accurately evaluated relative to each other.

Over the last three years, OWGR has coordinated an independent analysis of the Ranking and its system to ensure it is meeting its key objectives of publishing a transparent, credible and accurate ranking based on the relative performances of participating players. The results of this analysis have led to the changes announced today, including distribution of Ranking Points to all players making the cut to provide greater differentiation of performances; and use of a Field Rating calculation based on a statistical evaluation of every player in the field, rather than just those in the field among the current Top-200 of the Ranking.

Major Championships will continue to award 100 First Place Points, while THE PLAYERS Championship will award 80. All other tournaments will award Ranking Points according to the strength and depth of their fields, with a maximum of 80 First Place Points.

Click here for additional details, Frequently Asked Questions, and definitions about the updated OWGR Ranking System.

“The Official World Golf Ranking owes a massive debt of gratitude to founders Mark H McCormack and Tony Greer, whose vision has done so much to shape the competitive landscape of men’s professional golf over the past 35 years”, said Official World Golf Ranking Chairman Peter Dawson. “Since 1986, the Tours eligible for inclusion have grown in number from 6 to 23 and the rankings have been continuously modified to accommodate this expansion and to improve accuracy. We are confident the further enhancements announced today will best position OWGR for the years ahead.”

Following a 12-month notice period, implementation is set for Week Ending 14th August 2022 at which point all future eligible tournaments will utilize the updated system. There will be no recalculation of past events, meaning the impact of the new methodology will be gradual.

Fitness Knowledge Panorama Training

Is golf a sport? Belén García Franco: “Every swing is an explosive movement of the entire body.”

Belén García Franco is a physical therapist from Vigo, Spain, an expert in the sport of golf, and the current captain of the Galician Women’s Golf Team. She completed her Masters with honors in Manual Physiotherapy of the Locomotive Apparatus from the University of Alcalá de Henares, in Madrid. García played golf for over fifteen years until a bad hip injury stepped on her way. In 2017 she decided to put the physiotherapist gown on to work with other passionate athletes like her to improve their game off the course, and now she and her partner run their own clinic in Vigo.

Today, Golf Post has the opportunity to ask her some questions about the relationship between shooting under par and conducting a proper physical training. We are very happy to talk with you Belén, and we are ready to shed some light on the subject. 

Full Interview with physical therapist Belén García.

Golf Post: People outside of the golf field often debate whether or not golf can be considered a sport. As a former high-level player, and now as a physical therapist, what do you think of that?

Belén García: I think that golf is undoubtedly a sport. I will say more,  it requires physical and mental activity for at least 4-5 hours, which can be quite intense in addition to the technique being highly complicated. I certainly know that it demands of a general explosive movement of the whole body. Every swing is an explosive movement of the entire body.

As with many sports, the difference between amateur and professional is huge. The professional golfer must focus closely on the training of physical preparation, so they strive to achieve great athletic form. The higher the level of play, the more emphasis will be placed on this physical aspect.

Golf Post: What are the physical benefits of playing golf?

Belén García: The most positive characteristic about golf is that everyone can practice it at any age, even the elder ones, and that is why the physical benefits of golf are countless and very diverse. The joint mobility, stability, proprioception and precision are some of the physical qualities that golf provides. In addition to aerobic endurance, as it requires physical activation lasting several hours.

Golf Post: What is the most common injury among golfers?

Belén García: From my experience, the most common injury relates to the lower back, the lumbar. The torsion caused in the swing is very damaging to the intervertebral discs, since they are structures that suffer a lot with this movement and that will eventually be damaged. The younger golfers tend to hit the ball harder, so it is also more common to find injuries at their wrist and elbow joints, due to and excessive tightening of the grip or greater power in the shot.

Golf Post: Belén, you played great golf and represented your region in several occasions until you suffered a bad hip injury. Now you are playing some golf again, how was the coming back process?

Belén García: The injury just happened without giving me any heads-up, it was all of a sudden while I was playing a tournament with the Galician team in Asturias. I loved playing that tournament because I always had so much fun traveling with the team. The environment and the sport spirit was just the best. When you spend so much time practicing and playing around, your teammates also end up being friends, so being able to experience these events with them was very fun, and I was really upset that I could not do that anymore when the injured happened.

It scared me to think that I could never play golf again, but conducting the right training and taking measures was crucial to get me through it. Last year, when I started to play some golf again, I was still afraid to go through the same pain, or that it would happen again. Playing golf is a challenge itself, but for the first time, it was more alarming than appealing to me, but I knew my limits, and trusted the recovery. Sometimes, the hardest challenge in this cases is the mental factor. I was recovered and physically ready to tee up again, but it took some work until I convinced myself of so.

Golf Post: I assume that you work with all types of athletes, and you treat numerous injuries caused by overexertion. Is there any little secret to avoid those that are most likely to suffer in golf?

Belén García: Just like in any other sport, conducting a proper preventive training at the joint and muscular level is essential to largely avoid typical golf injuries in the short and long term. Many golfers tend to finish their routine with the last shot on hole 18, but I would insist in the importance of the post-round stretching exercises to release the muscular tension.

Golf Post: The dream come true of any passionate golfer is to turn pro and to live off of it. Do you think that the physical aspect makes the difference between accomplishing the goal and not doing so successfully?

Belén García: Without any doubt, it does make the difference. Nowadays, the physical training plays a crucial role in golf. Having a good physique makes the swing more consistent and more regular throughout the round, which minimizes errors. A strong body helps to have a strong mind as well.

Golf Post: Based on your extensive experience as a golfer and physiotherapist, how common is it for elite golfers to work with physios on a daily basis? At what level would you recommend starting with a physical trainer as part of their game training?

Belén García: I think that the role of physiotherapy in sport plays a fundamental role from a preventive point of view, and to accompany the right development of the swing technique. In the same way, knowing the technical and physical qualities of the athlete can determine the optimal frequency of treatment, although it is very common for every athlete to have their physiotherapist on hand throughout the competition calendar.

Physical training is recommended for all golfers regardless of their performance level, as the best way to prevent from bad habits or injuries, as well as to improve their scores. The same way the player invests the time in the driving range or the putting green to improve their game, they should also focus on the physical training (strength, mobility, flexibility, coordination…) in order to see solid results on the scorecard. I guess it depends on what the player wants to get out of golf.

Golf Post: Now that you educated us on the off the course training. Do you have any tips for when our readers tee up on the course?

Belén García: Not to stress over it, golf can result overwhelming and it takes time to make peace with it. Personally, golf and I have a love hate relationship, but there is something about it that keeps me coming back at it. It is such a special sport that contributes values and gives life to life. I do not like giving golf tips because then if it does not go the way it is supposed to, I feel terrible. To the people who is starting to get into golf, I would suggest to take a deep breathe before every shot and to bring a couple of more balls than they think are needed. Golf can be tricky, but the show must go on. And I definitely encourage every other person out there to break with the stereotype of golf as a boring sport for the elder, and try it out. They will be pleasantly surprised.

Golf Post: Firstly, we want to thank you Belén for your time. Your experience and professionalism in the field will provide our readers with a better knowledge on the topic. We very much appreciate the enthusiasm that you have shared with us today, and the hard work that you put on every day with your athletes to help them accomplish their goals. We wish you all the best, and we hope to speak again soon.

Interview conducted and edited by Elena Sinde Romero


Saadiyat Beach Golf Club & Yas Links Abu Dhabi To Eliminate All Single-Use Plastic Bottles

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 09 March 2021: Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and Yas Links Abu Dhabi, both of which are owned by Aldar Properties, have eliminated all single-use plastic bottles from its premises as of March 2021, underlining their commitment to environmental sustainability.

A combined total of over 100,000 plastic water bottles are consumed by golfers between the two properties on an annual basis. Joining the global movement to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics and conserve the environment, the goal is to reduce this figure by 40% this year. Members and guests will be encouraged to use and refill their own reusable water bottles from the water coolers throughout their round, these water coolers will be equipped with hand sanitizers following health & safety directives as well as ensuring a hygienic environment for players and associates alike.

Commenting on the new sustainable initiative Francisco de Lancastre David, Cluster General Manager at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and Yas Links Abu Dhabi, commented:

As plastic waste and pollution increases, we should all be making a conscious effort to do our part. I’m proud to have both golf clubs onboard with this new sustainable initiative, which will reduce our carbon footprint significantly and I hope that our members and visitors will be encouraged by this when visiting the course.”

Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and Yas Links Abu Dhabi are committed to preserving the environment and promoting environmental best practice. With that in mind, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club has successfully completed the Audubon certification process and the golf course has been officially certified as a sanctuary. The International Audubon Society is dedicated to protecting diversity in bird species. The programmes include habitat protection, green energy development and the management of protected areas while encouraging the public to become a part of the birding community. The emphasis is on conserving urban habitats by promoting planting trees and dedicating time to creating bird friendly environment.

Saadiyat Beach Golf Club is home to over 180 bird species, families of Mountain Gazelle and is also a natural nesting area for the Hawksbill turtles, all these elements create an unparalleled experience which should be taken good care of. The programme is designed with sensitivity to the surrounding natural environment and in compliance with strict environmental guidelines.

To further cement their green footprint and dedication to making a difference, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club is already accredited for a number of certifications, such as Environmental Planning, Water Conservation, Water Quality Management and Chemical use Reduction and Safety.

The move to eliminate single-use plastic from the golf clubs is in line with the clubs’ owner, Aldar Properties’ sustainability strategy which is built around the key pillars of economy, community, people and environment. In December 2019, Aldar launched its first sustainability report which outlines its strategy and initiatives in detail.