With the upcoming US Open at Merion close by it is important to understand rules that will influence the play of these top players and the responsibility that they have. Rule 6 outlines a variety of different items that the Player needs to be responsible for before, during, and after the round. Some of these are showing up for the proper starting time, having a caddie, marking your golf ball, and signing the correct scorecard. These are extremely important because any breach of Rule 6 could add penalty shots to a player’s score and even end in disqualification.
Roberto Di Vicenzo is probably the most well-known (Although he’d rather not be) for signing an improper scorecard which cost him the Masters. He says that not a day goes by he doesn’t think about it. Most recently, Tiger Woods 15th hole gaff on Friday of the 2013 Masters almost ended in disqualification as he signed his scorecard after taking an illegal drop. Since the committee knew about this and deemed it wasn’t an illegal drop at first glance he was able to be assessed a 2-shot penalty and remain in the competition. In that same event, the youngest ever competitor, Guan Tianlang was penalized for slow play under Rule 6. There are a ton of examples from the professional ranks of “messing” up Rule 6 so it is important for you to know your responsibilities as a player when you tee it up in your next event.
The rules can be tricky at times because there are so many and a variety of different “decisions” that take it even further. The best thing you can always due is to read all literature provided to you before an event and observe any “local rules” that are in place for that particular course. When in doubt, ask the rules official for the event so that you can proceed under the correct procedure. Knowing the rules will make your time on the golf course less stressful and could even help you out in many situations.