Golf's governing bodies have responded to the Lexi Thompson debacle in April

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Golf To Scrap Viewer Call-Ins On Rules Infringements

A working group led by The R&A and the USGA has unanimously agreed to adopt a new set of protocols for video review set to come into play from 1st January 2018.

The working group is made up of the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, European Tour, LET and The PGA of America, the R&A and USGA.

The changes will see:

– One or more rules official to monitor the video broadcast of a tournament to help identify and resolve Rules issues as they arise

– Viewer call-ins will no longer be considered as part of the Rules decision process

Today’s announcement takes you back to the ANA Inspiration in April and the Lexi Thompson debacle where she was given a four-stroke penalty mid-round due to an infringement on the previous day after a viewer called in.

She was penalised two strokes for not replacing her ball exactly where she marked it (this rules has now been altered) and then penalised two more strokes for signing for the wrong scorecard, even though she didn’t know she had a penalty until the next day.

Lexi Thompson

Lexi Thompson distraught after her play-off loss in the ANA Inspiration

Lexi was leading the first women’s major of the season during the final round and eventually lost out in a playoff.

The R&A and USGA have clearly taken that into account with this new local rule:

Available from 1 January, additional two-stroke penalties for failing to include a penalty on the scorecard when the player was unaware of the penalty have now been eliminated.

Golf Monthly Rules Homepage

All of the organisations represented on the working group will introduce the Local Rule for 2018 and this scorecard penalty will be permanently removed when the modernised Rules of Golf take effect on 1 January 2019.

The R&A and the USGA acted fast after Lexi Thompson’s penalty by establishing the new video review working group in April.

The group was formed to look at the role video footage can play when applying the Rules, including the issues that arise from viewer call-ins. 

David Rickman, Executive Director – Governance at The R&A, said, “This has clearly become an important issue in the sport that we felt we should address at this stage ahead of the implementation of the updated Rules of Golf in 2019.

Proposed changes to the Rules of Golf for 2019

“We have concluded that whilst players should continue to be penalised for all breaches of the Rules during a competition, including any that come to light after the scorecard is returned, an additional penalty for the scorecard error is not required.”

“The level of collaboration with our partners has been both vital and gratifying as we look to the future,” said Thomas Pagel, USGA senior director of the Rules of Golf and Amateur Status.

“As technology has continued to evolve, it has allowed us to evolve how we operate, as well.”

In addition, the new protocols will be limited to footage from only the broadcaster and not footage taken from phones and cameras from members of the crowd.

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