Travelers Championship

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The Loop

Canada says NO to new USGA handicap rule, USGA responds with unhelpful FAQ

November 25, 2015

On Monday, the USGA announced a new provision that made rounds played alone no longer acceptable for handicap purposes. For the most part, golfers everywhere reacted with fury (See for yourself), and now one place in particular is refusing to follow the rule.

Golf Canada, the national sport federation for golf in Canada, came out on Tuesday with the following statement:

Fight the power, Canada!

The USGA responded with the following FAQ, clarifying what "playing golf alone" means, and explaining that a larger focus on "peer review" is the reason for the rule. Here are the key parts:

What constitutes not playing alone?

As long as someone accompanies the player during the round (e.g., fellow competitor, opponent, caddie, marker for a tournament, friend riding along in a cart) the player is not playing alone.

How many holes can a player play alone to post the score?

The player must be accompanied for at least seven holes for a nine-hole score or 13 holes for 18-hole score. This is consistent with Section 5-1 and the minimum number of holes played under the Rules of Golf. For the holes played alone (not accompanied), the player would treat these as not played under the Rules of Golf and post according to “par plus” any handicap strokes the player is entitled to receive.

Ohhh, so the rounds count if you play seven of nine holes or 13 of 18 holes? And you don't need to play with someone, you just need to find a friend who is willing to waste five hours of his/her day watching you play golf? Yeah, because those are totally typical scenarios. . .

This rule just keeps getting more and more odd. And we expect to keep hearing more and more (outraged) reaction.