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Volume 7 No. 149

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Golfers around the world are "getting their first glimpse of the new rulebook which will govern the game from the start of next year," according to Iain Carter of the BBC. A "raft of changes aimed at making golf quicker and more enjoyable" will be introduced from Jan. 1. The R&A and the U.S. Golf Association, the joint rules-making bodies, also took steps to make the rules "easier to understand." For the first time, a "player's edition" of the Rules of Golf was launched and it includes diagrams and illustrations as well as "more direct language to explain the complexities of the game." R&A Dir of Governance David Rickman said, "This is a pretty exciting day for us, it has been six-and-a-half years in the making. We have millions of people around the world who love this sport and want to play by the rules. We needed to step up and give them the best opportunity to do that." Among the alterations "coming into force" are:

  • Free and penalty drops being made "from knee rather than shoulder height."
  • The flag "no longer needing to be removed" from the hole for putts on the green.
  • Caddies "not allowed to line up players" before they hit shots.
  • No penalty for an "accidental double hit."

Rickman said, "The general tenor of these changes has been the removal of penalties, the removal of restrictions, creating a slightly more relaxed approach" (BBC, 9/12). THE SCOTSMAN reported the "roll out process" started over the weekend and the initial reaction to the player's edition "has been positive." One match secretary at a Fife club wrote on Twitter, "The golfing authorities often get slated, but deserve credit for the new rule book which is much more illustrated and uses plain English for a change. Purpose of each rule also explained and makes understanding the rules easier." The process to modernize the rules began in '12 (SCOTSMAN, 9/12).

Limo Sopoaga (center) believes rugby players will be drawn to the higher salaries in Europe.

New Zealand rugby player Lima Sopoaga suggested "the All Black shirt is losing its allure in the battle against the riches available in the northern hemisphere," according to John Westerby of the LONDON TIMES. Sopoaga, who made his debut for Premiership side Wasps last weekend, "forsook the likelihood of a place in New Zealand’s World Cup squad for a lucrative deal playing English club rugby." The 27-year-old believes others "will be attracted to the greater salaries on offer in the European club game." He said, "I do think things are starting to change and players are starting to wise up a bit. For a lot of guys like myself, from big families and low socioeconomic backgrounds, the chance to change your family’s life is not something you take lightly. Sometimes the jersey is not enough for a better life.” Sopoaga "was a statement signing for his new club" and the Premiership -- "a player in his prime, who was in the All Blacks squad as the understudy to Beauden Barrett at the time his deal with Wasps was announced." He said, "Having my daughter changed things. Rugby isn’t forever, it can all be taken away from you. That all came into consideration" (LONDON TIMES, 9/12).

McLaren F1 Exec Dir Zak Brown

Formula 1's "current problems should act as a spur -- rather than a deterrent" -- for Liberty Media to "push on with a major rules revamp" for '21, McLaren F1 Exec Dir Zak Brown said, according to Jonathan Noble of MOTORSPORT. In the wake of a "growing performance gulf" between the top three teams and the rest of the grid, the "near collapse" of Force India and a situation where top drivers like Esteban Ocon "may miss out on seats, Brown thinks the time has come for action." Brown: "I think we have all seen it coming, and I don't envy what Liberty inherited because this started a while ago. Bernie [Ecclestone] had control of it and was keeping it together, but it was a bit of a ticking time bomb, and now some things have exploded. And I've said this to them [Liberty], and it is not nice, but sometimes you need things to actually break to be able to fix them." He added, "I have never thought that F1 is too big to fail. But I think the industry as a whole has an arrogance that it will just take care of itself, it always has." While a "major overhaul of engine rules" for '21 is "looking unlikely," Brown "hopes that plans for a budget cap and new car rules do not get watered down" (MOTORSPORT, 9/12).

The Australian Cricketers' Association called on Cricket Australia to give its new CEO a "mandate for change to enact the recommendations from the ongoing reviews into the game." Just days before the start of the domestic season, ACA President Greg Dyer "warned the governing body there are no short cuts out of the game's current woes" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 9/12).

Eddie Jones was ordered to pay consultants himself.

England's Rugby World Cup preparations are "being undermined" by the Rugby Football Union's state of "financial turmoil," with Manager Eddie Jones ordered to pay consultants himself -- and forced to intervene to protect England senior team Manager Richard Hill’s job. Amid a "savage" round of enforced redundancies within the RFU, the "fall-out is being felt at senior national-team level." Firm assurances that the cost-cutting measures "would not have any direct impact on the England set-up appear to have been misleading" (London DAILY MAIL, 9/11).

Pakistan PM Imran Khan on Tuesday decided to constitute a task force for the revamping of the country's sports sector. The task force will be headed by Pakistan Cricket Board Chair Ehsan Mani. Khan, while chairing a meeting on sports at the Parliament House, "expressed his annoyance" that despite funds from the government and other national and int'l sources, the sports federations and sports organizations "have failed to deliver" (DAWN, 9/12).

In response to criticism over transparency and other "pressing problems in the sport," South Korea's professional and amateur baseball organizations have agreed to form a new cooperative body. Korea Baseball Organization Commissioner Chung Un-chan said that the KBO and the Korea Baseball Softball Association will establish "KBO-KBSA Council for the Future of Korean Baseball" (YONHAP, 9/12).