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Players Championship 2019: Webb Simpson hit with flimsy rules violation, makes his displeasure clear

March 17, 2019
The PLAYERS Championship - Round Three

Sam Greenwood

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — This year has seen no shortage of bizarre rules snafus since the USGA and R&A rolled out the new Rules of Golf on Jan. 1. Sunday at the Players Championship was no exception.

Webb Simpson was standing on the fringe at the 14th hole at TPC Sawgrass when the end of his long putter got snagged on his shirt and caused his ball to move. He was given a one-stroke penalty.

Had the incident occurred with the ball on the green, he would have been able to return it to its original spot without a penalty.

Suffice it to say, Simpson was not thrilled with how things played out.

“This is where I’m going to be loud and clear,” said the 2018 Players champion after a final-round 68 to finish his week at 10 under par. “We have to get intent into the rules. We have to. Because it’s killing our game when it comes to these kind of things.”

Several players have been outspoken about a handful of rules the first few months of the season—from caddie alignment penalties, to poking fun at the new knee-height drop rule.

That includes Simpson, who two weeks ago said the PGA Tour should make its own rules. Commissioner Jay Monahan said earlier this week, however, that’s not happening.

“What [the USGA and R&A] try to say is either it’s hard to write the rule with intent or you open it up for gray area,” Simpson said. “Well, I think it’s actually the opposite because I’m playing with Lucas [Glover], we’re up there, why would I try to move the ball? There’s no advantage and there’s cameras everywhere, too. I don’t know if that got on there, but my putter hit my clothes, it moved it a quarter inch, I’m going to move it back. So I’m just I’m hoping that somehow or another intent can get broadened.”