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Playing by the rules

Jordan Spieth with tThe Open Claret Jug

Is playing by the rules important?

Of course, rules are designed to enable fair competition, especially in sport.

Jordan Spieth just won The Open with some fantastic golf, in my opinion his golf outshone everyone else throughout the championship.

He played to the rules of the game as did everyone else in this gentleman’s sport, however we will never know what the outcome would have been had Jordan not been able to use the rules as he did on the 13th hole.

Jordan Spieth on the 13th hole at Royal BirkdaleIf you didn’t see the incident on the 13th hole at Royal Birkdale, his tee shot was very wide, even commentators said it was the wildest tee shot they had ever seen. It was way to the right and ended up in a bush and it would have been very difficult to play. He declared it unplayable and then had 3 choices, go back to the tee and play his third shot (including a penalty) lift and drop the ball within 2 club lengths of where it was resting, no nearer the hole, with penalty. Or he could go back as far as he wanted,  keeping the unplayable lie position  in line with the flag, in other words moving away form the hole on a  direct line, still under a penalty of 1 shot.

He chose the final option however this created another issue, where did he drop?

The rules state you can go back as far as you like but it must be within the boundaries of the course. So he went back quite some distance and dropped on the driving range, having also taken relief from a lorry that was in his way.

The rules are clear and he did absolutely nothing wrong and with the chance to be The Open champion on the line of course he was going to do what he could to minimise the damage from his poor tee shot.

There are so many questions raised about the incident and now isn’t the time to rehash them all, the fact remains he knew the rules he was supposed to play within and use them to get the best possible solution out of a bad situation, as I am sure all of us would with what was at stake.

Rules are not always there to penalise people, at times they can be used to aid you and in this instance that’s what happened.

Taking into account he took a penalty on the hole and ended up with a bogey 5 was  pretty miraculous and  I wonder how many players in the field could have pulled that off in those circumstances, not many I am sure.

For me, what was more impressive was his very next shot on the par 3, from just over 200 yards away he almost holed it for an ace! Under that amount of pressure playing the final few holes of the biggest golf championship  in the world, having just been in such a pickle on the hole before,  this was probably one of the best shots I have ever seen. Then to put the gloss on the cherry on top of the icing on the cake, he eagled (a 3 on a par 5) the next and birdied (3 on a par 4) the one after to win the championship.

Spectacular golf and all within the rules of the game.

He is now set to possibly join an elite band of golfers, those who have completed the grand slam (the 4 Major events) when he tees it up for the final Major of the year next month. He is not even 24 years old yet! Amazing!

How well do you stick to the rules of your sport or any aspect of life for that matter?

R&A USGA

 

 

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