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The Rules in 2019 will help players avoid unnecessary penalties when it comes to searching for their ball.

Under Rule 7.4, if a player accidentally moves his or her ball while searching for it, there will be no penalty. In addition, under new Rule 7.3 a player will be able to mark, lift and identify their ball without needing first to announce this intention to another person.

The reason for the change is that a fundamental principle of golf is to play the ball as it lies; so the Rules should help the player to find his or her ball and play it from the spot where it was at rest.

Players often need to probe in grass, bushes, leaves and other conditions to look for a hidden ball, and such reasonable acts create a risk of moving the ball.

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