From now on there will be no penalty for accidentally moving your golf ball or ball marker on the green.
Golf’s governing bodies, the R&A and USGA have introduced a local rule for golf (meaning not all tournaments are required to implement it) that eliminates the penalty for a player who accidentally moves their golf ball or ball marker on the green.
Largely introduced because of the Dustin Johnson debacle at the US Open at Oakmont, the new rule is a welcome addition which will most likely be enshrined into the Rules of Golf when the R&A and USGA have scheduled their next update in three years time.
But for the moment, the local rules is as follows (from the official press release):
If a committee wishes to introduce this Local Rule, the following wording is recommended:
“Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1 are modified as follows:
When a player’s ball lies on the putting green, there is no penalty if the ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved by the player, his partner, his opponent, or any of their caddies or equipment.
The moved ball or ball-marker must be replaced as provided in Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1.
This Local Rule applies only when the player’s ball or ball-marker lies on the putting green and any movement is accidental.
Note: If it is determined that a player’s ball on the putting green was moved as a result of wind, water or some other natural cause such as the effects of gravity, the ball must be played as it lies from its new location. A ball-marker moved in such circumstances is replaced.”
And a more detailed video about the rule from the USGA: