The Unites States Golf Association is going to do everything in its power to prevent another ruling controversy like the one that clouded the last day of the 2016 U.S. Open.
This year at Erin Hills, the less than colorful organization will be setting up four on-course video locations to help speed up rulings. In addition, they will have a chief referee, Thomas Pagel, who is “empowered to make instantaneous decisions,” according to John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s managing director of rules, competitions and equipment standards.
“Through our work over the last 12 months, we have learned a great deal,” Bodenhamer said. “And our focus over those months has primarily been three things. First, to expedite our ruling process in ensure that we’re more timely in our rulings. To be decisive in our decision making. And to more effectively communicate to the players and all of you.”
Along with a chief referee and more monitors, various rules officials will be given tablets to help with getting the information they need as quickly as possible.
For the first time since the tournament began, rules officials will no longer be walking with the groups. There will be two referees stationed at each of the non-par 3 holes. This will help the officials really know the hole they are on, letting them quickly determine rules dilemmas that could occur there.
“I think last year there were two things we fell short on – it took too long to make the ruling and it left uncertainty with the competition,” said Bodenhamer. “I think should a similar circumstance happen, I think we are poised to move quickly.”
Hopefully with these new precautions in place, there will be no uncertainty when it comes to the rules and regulations of this U.S. Open. If another controversy occurs, you bet the USGA will get an ear full.