In 2019, Under Rule 14-1b, the player’s caddie will be allowed to mark and lift the player’s ball on the putting green any time the player is allowed to do so, without needing authorization. The caddie will continue to be allowed to replace the player’s ball only if the caddie was the one who had lifted or moved the ball.
Reasons for Change
There is no compelling reason to prohibit a caddie from performing these purely mechanical acts when the player’s ball is on the putting green.
In many places, it is common practice for caddies to mark, lift, clean and replace the player’s ball when it first comes to rest on the putting green without authorization from the player, even though this is not permitted under the current Rules.
Giving the caddie this authority is consistent with the limited role of a caddie.