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R&A change driver rules for 2003 Open

Golf's rule-making body is limiting the springlike effect on drivers at next year's British Open to bring it in line with the other three majors.

The Royal & Ancient Club said Tuesday the move is designed to achieve some uniformity after complaints that improvements in technology, such as so-called hot drivers, were giving some players an unfair advantage.

The R&A said it had introduced a "coefficient of restitution" - how quickly the ball springs from the club face - to limit the springlike effect. Any player not abiding by the rule will be disqualified.

The coefficient of 0.83, which is the same set by the USGA, does not apply to the British Amateur championship or any other amateur events.

The British Open will be played at Sandwich, England, July 17-20.

The R&A makes the rules of golf for everywhere in the world except the United States and Mexico, which fall under the jurisdiction of the USGA.

Until Tuesday's R&A ruling, players could use the thin-faced drivers at the British Open or World Golf Championships held overseas, but not on the PGA Tour or the three American majors - the Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship.

In August, golf's two governing bodies scrapped plans to allow recreational players in the United States to use the hot drivers. The modified policy means Americans cannot use the thin-faced drivers in club tournaments or to post a score for their handicap index.


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