Woods, Poulter welcome golf rule-change proposals

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Tiger Woods and Ian Poulter have welcomed proposals to significantly change the rules of golf in order to make them simpler and easier to understand.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A) and the United States Golf Association (USGA) announced wide-ranging plans to modernise golf's rulebook on Wednesday.

Their proposals, scheduled to be implemented from 2019 following a period of public consultation, will see the number of rules reduced from 34 to 24, the relaxation of various existing regulations and a focus on speeding up the pace of play.

In a tweet responding to the suggested changes, 14-time major champion Woods wrote: "Lots of thought & hard work by @USGA and @RandA to modernize our rules. Great work to benefit the game."

Former world number five Poulter also welcomed the news, adding: "I'm so happy the @RandA and the @USGA are addressing the complex very confusing rule book. Common sense will help all enjoy the game of golf."

David Rickman, executive director - governance at the R&A, explained the intent of his organisation and the USGA.

"Our aim is to make the rules easier to understand and to apply for all golfers," said Rickman. "We have looked at every rule to try to find ways to make them more intuitive and straightforward and we believe we have identified many significant improvements.

"It is important that the rules continue to evolve and remain in tune with the way the modern game is played but we have been careful not to change the game's long-standing principles and character."

The R&A added: "Golfers are encouraged to review the proposed changes and submit feedback online via worldwide survey technology that can be accessed at randa.org or usga.org/rules from now until 31 August 2017.

"The feedback will be reviewed by The R&A and the USGA in establishing the approved final version of golf's new rules. These are due to be released in mid-2018 ahead of a 1 January 2019 implementation. Social media users can also follow the discussion using #GolfRules2019."