There's been a bit of debate on the Mike Weir ruling, yet I have not seen the actual shot in question. Essentially Weir's ball moved in the fairway and there was a question of whether or not Weir addressed the ball. There are many people telling me that there's no doubt that Weir did and to make it worse, there's no doubt in their mind that Weir knew he addressed the ball and the ball moved. The ruling went FOR Weir, saying that he never grounded the club and that's where the uproar came about. If I ever get the video, I will post it up.
I personally hate the moved ball rule. I don't think it reflects the spirit of the game and we don't penalize golfers who accidentally knick the ball off the tee or even in Tiger's case where he took a full swing and stopped it at the last second and still hit the ball. That was determined to not be a stroke because Tiger didn't intend it to be.
But while I do not agree with the rule, every time you tee it up you are basically agreeing to abide by the rules that govern the game. Don't like it? Take up checkers. It's as simple as that.
Problems arose when some called Weir a 'cheat' and Weir does have some diehard fans and that really rubbed them the wrong way. Again, I never saw it so I can't really say. But I will say that I've seen highly respectable people cheat at the game of golf. And years ago when Gary Player and Tom Watson got into it over a ruling, which of these respectable people are you going to believe, Player or his accuser Watson who absolutely believes that Player cheated?
But again, not saying that Weir cheated because I have yet to see the tape.
However, this poses something that concerns me even more. That the PGA really seems to cater to their popular players. For instance, we have the Kenny Perry ruling at the FBR from earlier this year where it was deemed that he didn't try to improve his lie from the rough.
Or the highly respectable Stewart Cink who clearly swiped his finger to draw a deep line behind his ball in a fairway waste bunker to improve his lie, claiming he was just trying to remove loose impediments. That helped Cink stick the ball to about 10 feet and make birdie in a playoff at Harbour Town (check it out at about the 5:00 mark)
Sadly though this doesn't apply to the non-popular Tour players. For instance, check out this ruling that happened in a Georgia Women's event recently this year.
During the Greater Atlanta Women's Amateur Championship a competitor's ball was perched precariously on the side of a hill near a green. She moved some loose impediments in the vicinity of the ball and also took some practice swings in the area. After making her last practice swing but before addressing the ball, the ball rolled down the hill. The golfer instinctively retrieved the ball and replaced it where it lay.
She then played the stroke from where the ball had been replaced and the group subsequently asked for rules assistance at the conclusion of their round.
The rules committee had to weigh in a bunch of factors, particularly that the wind was blowing at 20+ mph.
But finally the decision says that if there is any doubt in determining whether the player may have caused the ball to move it should be resolved AGAINST the player. That means that the player is required to be very careful with his or her golf ball when it is in play, otherwise, penalties could be forthcoming." - Golf Georgia Magazine July/August 2009 pg. 40
And yes, the Rules Committee in this case did consult the Rule Book. For those Rule Book buffs, they cited Decision 18-2a/30.5.
One of the glorious parts of the game is how it instills integrity in people, particularly young people. It's probably the only game I can think of where if somebody is to call a penalty on themselves, they are applauded in grand fashion. I think it's important to keep that in tact, but the PGA seems to want to skirt around the issue. My belief is that if you don't want to penalize these players for breaking the rules, then change the rules. (and AGAIN, I don't know if Weir broke the rules, but the respectable Kenny Perry looks like he did and I think there's no freaking doubt about it that the respectable Stewart Cink did)