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Winthrop Gold OB Rule Tweaked
USDGC Competitors will enjoy a softer approach to OB rules this year. “Throw and Distance” was used at Winthrop in 2010 and 2011. Under these rules a player who throws a shot OB must throw again from the same spot AND take a one throw penalty.
This year a player must still re-throw the errant shot, but will not receive a penalty stroke as well.
“The penalty is that the player does not earn the right to move forward,” said USDGC Event Director Jonathan Poole.
With throw and distance the last two years, USDGC officials saw very conservative play. The USDGC has always demanded good course management, but event organizers also want to maximize the players’ opportunities to be spectacular.
Despite a common misconception, the rule is not equivalent to a mulligan. A player has to throw again from the same spot and still count the previous errant throw. The OB change includes the treacherous Hole 17, where players will have to keep throwing until they have reached the island green.
Inside the 10 meter circle applies as well. In some instances, such as the downhill putt overlooking the lake on hole 18, the player may actually benefit from a putt going OB as opposed to staying in bounds near the lake’s edge.
USDGC organizers believe that this approach will make Winthrop easier to marshal consistently, and should lead to more aggressive play. “You are either in, or out. If a spotter raises a red flag you throw again. A green flag indicates the shot landed safely in bounds,” said Poole, adding it also should help with speed of play.
Though some may scratch their heads at changes like this, Poole said it is all in pursuit of the best and most fair conditions for championship play.