Change to "Rickie Fowler" rule among five law modifications for 2023

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The new rule states that a ball at rest must be replaced if it moves to "another area of the course" after being dropped, placed or replaced. The new rule would have been very helpful to Fowler, who ran up a triple-bogey in Phoenix three years ago after seeing his ball slide back into the penalty area following an attempted drop. Grant Moir, director of rules at the R&A, said: "He [Fowler] had taken relief from a penalty area, dropped within two club lengths under a one-stroke penalty and the ball was at rest and in play, and then it subsequently set off back into the penalty area and he had take another penalty. "It got on our agenda at that point and it happened a couple of other times as well in high-profile circumstances. "Now, if the ball moves to another area of the course - fairway to bunker, fairway to penalty area - the player is going to simply replace it without penalty. "The damaged club rule is something of a simplification. Before it was only permissible for repair and we felt why not allow replacement? People don't go out to try and damage clubs so they can replace it with a different club, that's just not the mindset. "So if someone has tripped over their putter or their driver head has exploded and they happen to be going past the clubhouse at the turn, it seemed sensible and equitable to allow people to get a replacement on the assumption it hasn't been self-inflicted." Other changes to the rules include allowing players to replace a club that is damaged during a round, as well as modifications for players with disabilities following the creation of Rule 25. "There is very much a focus on inclusivity with the new rules," Moir said. "I would say that the headline change is the introduction of new Rule 25, which brings the modifications for players with disabilities, that used to have to be introduced as a local rule for competitions, into the mainstream in much the same way as competitions for players with disabilities have become. "We are delighted to be making that change and introducing the new rule. "We had a number of video calls with players representing different categories of disabilities and they were really pleased that this was coming in. There was a real positivity around the move." The modifications include allowing blind players to receive help with taking a stance and lining up for a shot, while amputees are allowed to anchor the club and get help to drop or replace their ball. "The modifications first came into place more than 25 years ago and have been refined along the way," Moir added. "But it has always been a theme of our discussions with players or administrators that they want as few differences as possible."

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