OAKMONT, PA – JUNE 19: Dustin Johnson of the United States chats with a rules official on the fifth green during the final round of the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club on June 19, 2016 in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
By Ryan Herrington
In the wake of the Sunday U.S. Open rules controversy at Oakmont a year ago, USGA officials have put in place a handful of changes for Erin Hills that they believe will speed up and make more efficient the process of addressing rules issues during the championship.
Notably, the USGA is abandoning the practice of having walking rules officials with each group. Instead, each hole will have a group of stationary rules officials in position to address issues that arise during the competition. The new setup will allow officials to be strategically placed on each hole in various areas to better assist with rulings and pace of play.
“The biggest issue was to be transparent and quick in making a decision and communicating it to a player that might be impacted and to the whole field,” said USGA president Diana Murphy. “That was definitely something we regretted [with our] handling last year.”
Murphy said that, as is the case every year, the association reviewed what took place at Oakmont with a critical eye, knowing there were improvements to be made.
“Each year we have lessons learned, and we go into a review of what can we do better,” Murphy said. “There’s no question we put in a lot of different changes for this championship specially around are rules and our decisiveness in communicating rules decisions. So we feel we’re in a very good spot.”