geary1During the second round of this year’s Memorial Tournament Matt Kuchar hit a beautiful approach shot that was covering the flag. It should have landed close to the hole and given Kuchar a very makeable birdie putt. Instead it landed on a sprinkler head just on the fringe, bounced high into the air and down a steep hill to the left of the green.

Kuchar was fortunate to salvage a bogey. Rub of the green?

Under the existing rules of golf that’s exactly what it was, but to my mind there is a huge difference from a ball taking a crazy bounce off something natural, like a tree or mound than something that is only there to put water on the grass.

Same is true with asphalt and cement cart pats and, heck, carts themselves.

I maintain that a player who has their shot altered by certain man made objects, such as sprinkler heads and cart paths should have the option to re-hit the shot without penalty.

Rub of the green? When’s the last time you saw a green cart path? And sprinkler heads are only green if they are painted. Nothing natural about them.

Golf is tough enough without adding to its difficulty.

One of the courses in our area, Swansea (Mass) Country Club has power lines that traverse the course and come into play on a few holes.

The local rule allows a player the option to re-hit if their shot strikes one of those power lines. Makes sense. Power lines should not impact somebody’s round.

Now if you strike a bird with your shot then you have to live with (the bird likely does not) the results. Call that rub of the sky.

I’m not advocating my rule change to include balls striking another ball on the green or a flag stick, or even a rake (which is why many clubs ask that you leave rakes inside the bunkers). Those are integral to the game, part of it. But a cart path would not be there if not to ferry players who cannot, or will not walk the course. It shouldn’t affect the outcome of a round.

The folks who invented golf and wrote the rules, never envisioned cart paths, carts or sprinkler heads. To them the rub of the green (or the that’s the way the ball bounces) was confined strictly to natural objects and surfaces.

But then they have a rule where if the ball moves one dimple, such as Dustin Johnson’s at the U.S. Open when he may or may not have caused the ball to move, he is penalized.

If that’s not silly enough, he later gets relief from heavy rough because a T.V. tower (a temporary obstruction) is between him and a green, only because he duck hooked a shot so badly that he nearly put it in the adjoining fairway. The relief takes D.J.’s ball out of the primary cut and puts it in the first cut, changing the entire integrity of the shot .

There are rules to gain relief from temporary man-made obstacles, such as grandstands and such. Rub of the green doesn’t apply there because it would be unfair. Yet if a player were to hit a ball into a grand stand and liked the lie they had, as did Phil Mickelson last year, they have the option to either take a drop or hit the shot.

Nothing is perfect. There are problems with everything, but objects that are not a natural part of a golf course should not affect who wins and who loses.