PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- PGA TOUR officials rescinded a two-stroke penalty issued to Justin Rose on Sunday before his final round of THE PLAYERS Championship, saying sophisticated TV technology was the only way to determine the violation.
The penalty was lifted under Decision 18-4, which is new this year and limits how players can be penalized based on video evidence from HD cameras. Rose was informed of the decision about an hour before his 12:35 p.m. ET tee time, and it was the first time the rule was utilized.
"I was good with the way everything played out; I want to play by the rules," Rose told PGATOUR.COM before teeing off Sunday. "But I was reading an article in the evening and the rule states -- and I'm paraphrasing -- but if a player can't discern whether the ball moved or not, it's deemed not to have moved. I sort of scratched my head and said that's exactly what happened to me and yet I was docked two.
"But obviously all the governing bodies -- the USGA, R&A and PGA TOUR -- all got together overnight to talk about it."
Rose's third-round score was changed from 73 to 71 and he entered the final round five shots off the lead instead of seven.
"The Rules Committee reopened the incident and focused on how much the use of sophisticated technology played a part in making the original ruling," the TOUR said in a statement (Click here for full statement). "After that review, it was determined that the only way to confirm whether and how much the ball in fact changed position was to utilize sophisticated technology."
Decision 18-4 waives the penalty if a ball moving is not "reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time" and requires enhanced technology such as HDTV.
Rose was initially penalized after the third round when he addressed a chip shot from behind the 18th green and then backed away. He said he didn't think the ball moved from its original position after consulting with playing partner Sergio Garcia and seeing a replay on the video board next to the green, so he played on.
It wasn't until after more than 30 minutes of looking at it from multiple broadcast feeds in three different trucks and zooming in that officials determined that the ball did move ever so slightly.
Rose was penalized under Rule 18-2b -- one shot for the ball moving at address and another for not returning it to its original position.
But the issue was re-addressed Sunday when the rules committee arrived at TPC Sawgrass at 7:30 a.m. After a 45-minute discussion, officials asked the R&A and USGA for advice at 10 a.m. and an hour later came to a decision to rescind the penalty.
Asked if they could have reached that decision sooner, PGA TOUR Vice President of Rules and Competition Mark Russell said, "Possibly."
"It's pretty complicated, really," he continued. "This isn't going to happen every day.
"The whole key there is ultimately we got it right, and that is the most important thing."
Rose quickly played himself into contention Sunday with three birdies in his first nine holes to get within two strokes of the lead, but stumbled with three straight bogeys to open the back nine.
He shot 69 and finished tied for fourth.
"Obviously I'm teeing off an hour-and-a-half ahead of the guys that I should have been playing with, so that in itself was strange," Rose said. "Then I get off to a good start, too, and I'm 10 under through the turn and beginning to put a run together.
"At that point it was all very interesting. It was nice to give myself that feeling of a run today, but felt fortunate to be in that position, obviously, with what had transpired the evening before."