Rules will be hard to change: Harrington

Padraig Harrington has said the rule that caused him to be disqualified from the Abu Dhabi Championship should not be changed.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Wed 26 Jan 2011, 10:33 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:27 AM

The Royal Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (R & A) is considering changes to the rules that have recently seen leading players Camilo Villegas, Ian Poulter and Harrington disqualified from pro tour events.

Harrington became the latest to fall foul of the Rules of Golf for signing for an incorrect score but only after TV footage revealed he had moved his ball in picking up his marker.

In normal play, the infraction would have incurred a two-stroke penalty but as it was not brought to full notice until the next morning, and as the triple major winner had handed in his scorecard, it meant instant disqualification.

Harrington fully accepted the blame and has received widespread praise for the way he handled the matter after being in such a strong position just one stroke off the lead following a first-round 65.

“It’s going to be a difficult rule to change, and it’s not as clear cut as people think to make a change of a rule like that,” Harrington told reporters on Tuesday.

“It would have to be a tough sub-committee to sit on, to figure out what would be the right rule change.

“There’s a lot of things to consider like the halfway cut on the Friday evening, and you have to know positions of everyone, and on Saturday you have to know your position based on the fact that you’re attacking or defending a lead.

“So more than just having to sign your card, you need good reason to change the rule.

“Whether the ball moves a millimetre today, is an inch next week, or five inches other week as it’s just going to be tough rule to change.

“The rule has probably been there for a hundred years now.

“It’s there for good reason, so it’s easier to talk about it than to actually change it.”

Harrington was commenting ahead of this week’s inaugural Volvo Golf Champions being staged on the Colin Montgomerie designed Royal Golf Club course in Bahrain.

The course is the only 18-hole layout in the Kingdom of Bahrain where next year the 2012 Race to Dubai will begin.

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