It’s all go for January after the R&A and USGA published their finalised Rules of Golf. So what’s coming in? Steve Carroll outlines the changes.
Reception Uncertain for Returning Simon Dyson
Simon Dyson is returning to action for the first time since he was handed a suspended two-month ban from the European Tour at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he cannot be certain of the reception which awaits him.
There is talk of one well-respected player within the game saying the issue is a “hot potato” and he would prefer not to be paired with Dyson in the £1.6m event.
The player, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “We just have to put the blinkers on and get on with it.”
Dyson was joint-second after 36 holes of the MBW Masters in October when he was shockingly disqualified for signing for an incorrect score in the second round.
The 36-year-old failed to add a two-shot penalty to his card following an incident on the eighth hole at Lake Malaren, when he touched the line of his putt after marking his golf ball, using the golf ball to flatten a spike mark. The incident was reviewed after viewers watching the game from home alerted those at the event, and European Tour officials charged Dyson with a serious breach of the Tour’s code of behaviour; a charge which was upheld when the man from Yorkshire appeared before a three-person disciplinary panel at Wentworth in December.
Dyson was handed a two-month ban from the European Tour, suspended for 18 months, but was cleared of “a premeditated act of cheating” in a verdict which seemed somewhat contradictory.
The panel in which Dyson stood before is chaired by Ian Mill QC and is made up of European Senior Tour Player Gordon Brand Jnr and League Managers’ Association chief executive Richard Bevan. Together they found that Dyson deliberately pressed down the spike mark to improve his position, despite knowing it was against the rules of the game.
The panel stated that the “extreme seriousness” of such an offence “in the appropriate case” would certainly warrant an immediate suspension, however Dyson’s previous good conduct on the golf course coupled with the fact that it was a “momentary aberration on his part, not a premeditated act of cheating,” was taken into consideration.
Dyson did not speak on the issue, making only one public comment on the incident which came via a statement released on October 31 of last year, which read: “I would like to say at this stage that I have never deliberately broken the rules either on this occasion or in the past.
“It was only after I was shown the replay of my action...that I realised what I had done and that I was in breach. I immediately accepted that I should be disqualified. My action was in no way a deliberate act with the intention of breaking the rules. It was simply an accidental mistake.”