Every four years golf's governing bodies, the U.S. Golf Association and the R&A, review the Rules of Golf and tweak them as deemed necessary. The latest iteration of the Rules came out last week and will kick in on Jan. 1. There were only a handful of substantive changes, but they will certainly be noted by certain PGA Tour players.


A player is permitted to listen to music or radio broadcasts on a personal device during a round. Prolonged usage is banned, so best to leave the iPod at home. Richard Zokol listened to music on a Walkman for most of the 1982 Tour season. Zokol, a.k.a. Disco Dick, was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame this year.
A player who is late for his tee time is DQ'd, unless the event is using an exception, which calls for a two-shot penalty. The DQ is dead. All tournaments will now use the exception. At this year's Northern Trust Open, Dustin Johnson missed his 7:32 a.m. tee time for the first round. Luckily for DJ, the PGA Tour was already using the exception.
If a player or his caddie alters sand in a hazard before the shot is played, he is slapped with a two-shot penalty. Get a head start on raking, but don't mess with the line, stance or potential lie. At the '08 Zurich, Stewart Cink stood in one bunker to play a shot, then hit into another. His caddie raked the first bunker before Cink played again. Cink was hit with two strokes.
Once a player addresses the ball, if the ball moves for any reason, a one-stroke penalty is assessed. If it's "virtually certain" the player didn't cause the movement, there is no penalty. During the final round of this year's Zurich Classic, Webb Simpson was leading when a gust moved his ball on the 15th green, costing him a shot. He lost in a playoff.