Well, this literally being my 40th year in the golf industry... day after damn day, I can tell you that many, (please read, MANY) USGA "members" send in their cash to get the cap and whatever other B.S. they get to feel as if they are part of something bigger than themselves.
Again, I can't stand the arbitrary and haphazard way that these "blue suits" come up with idiotic stuff for the supposed betterment of the game.
But again... just because someone else was not seen by a USGA rules official and avoided the penalty (per the article, doen't change the rule (good, bad or stupid) in place.
The player, in , the most honorable game, the last line of defense. If they are ignorant to the rules (good , bad or stupid) that is on them.
INTEGRITY, might I add, is something that you find when others are not watching.
I would also guess (and it absolutely is a guess as it is not in the article) that the group could have been falling behind and might have been under the watchful eye of the rules committee and perhaps, just PERHAPS that is the reason for wanting an escort to the green to keep pace.
That is only speculation.