Four of the world’s best golfers went “back to school” today as the new 2019 Rules came into play for the first European Tour event of the year in Abu Dhabi.
Seven years in the making, the new rules are designed to make the sport faster, fairer and simpler. Defending double champion Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson, playing in Abu Dhabi for the fourteenth consecutive year, wasted no time in swotting up on the exciting new changes.
Key rule changes include players allowed to putt with the flagstick in, lost ball search time reduced from five minutes to three minutes, drops to be taken from knee height rather than shoulder height plus a recommendation that no stroke should take longer than 40 seconds.
As the first European Tour event of the season, all eyes will be on the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship presented by EGA as the new rules come into play for the first time.
Long established as the jewel in the crown of Middle Eastern golf, the tournament, taking place from January 16-19, recently became part of the prestigious Rolex Series and, with a prize fund now at US$7million, is one of the premium tournaments on The European Tour.
Fleetwood, who won the tournament in 2017 and 2018, said: “It’s a really memorable tournament for me. It’s always a really special time of year as everything is up for grabs and, as ever, the strength of field here in Abu Dhabi is something else. With the new rule changes, it will be a fascinating start to 2019.
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