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Brent Kelley

What's the Ruling: Declaring Play Null and Void, Canceling Scores

By January 5, 2013

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Something happened on the PGA Tour on Friday - the very first day of the 2013 season - that hadn't happened since 2005: Play was declared "null and void," and all scores returned to that point canceled.

The Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii got off to a windy, wet start. Winds were gusting above 40 mph, and there had already been a couple delays of play because of the wind. Finally, PGA Tour officials stopped play and canceled all scores, declaring that day's play null and void.

What is the authority to do that, as opposed to merely stopping play and then resuming later? The Rules of Golf, of course.

Rule 33-2 (d) - Course Unplayable
If the Committee or its authorized representative considers that for any reason the course is not in a playable condition or that there are circumstances that render the proper playing of the game impossible, it may, in match play or stroke play, order a temporary suspension of play or, in stroke play, declare play null and void and cancel all scores for the round in question. When a round is canceled, all penalties incurred in that round are canceled.

The cancellation of the TOC's first-round scores was the first time the "null and void" rule was used by the PGA Tour since the second round of the 2005 Players Championship.

Twenty-four of the 30 players at the TOC had started play at the time the round was canceled. The tour plans to resume play early Saturday morning and play both the first and second rounds on Saturday. The golfers just need a little cooperation from the weather.

(Update: Now Saturday's play is wiped out, too. The tournament has been shortened to 54 holes and they'll try to play 36 on Sunday before finishing on Monday.)

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