Golf governing bodies decide to remove viewer call ins
Lexi Thompson got penalized after a viewer called in for a possible rule infraction on the green, leading to four strokes penalty
Adding new rules to the books USGA and R&A governing bodies of professional golf over the world have decided to let go of the viewer call-ins for decision making, which took away her title chances from Lexi Thompson at the ANA Inspiration in April this year.
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) April 3, 2017
Lexi Thompson can perhaps take some solace now from the announcement made in conjunction with the major men’s and women’s professional tours around the world and the PGA of America. Starting Jan. 1, these associations collectively will no longer field rules enquires from viewers watching golf-tournament broadcasts on TV or streaming online as part of a new set of video review protocols.
If the rules were in place earlier this year at the time of ANA Inspiration, Thompson would not have received a four-strokes penalty for incorrectly marking her ball on the putting green and instead would have gone ahead and win the tournament over So Yeon Ryu at Mission Hills.
Related: Jon Rahm should have been penalized
After receiving a huge amount of flak from the fans the USGA and R&A formed a working group made up of representatives from the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour, and the PGA of America to develop guidelines for video review.
“The committee [at each tournament] will take on the responsibility of monitoring in real time,” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA senior director of Rules of Golf and Amateur Status. “Essentially everything you’re seeing at home we’ve already seen it. We’re going to apply the rules accordingly.”
It’s just, not Lexi Thompson who went through this, even Tiger Woods faced the same at 2013 Masters when a viewer called in to tell that Tiger Woods had taken an improper drop on the 15th hole during the second round after hitting a shot off the flagstick and into the water.
“When a call or email would come over to our desk where we were reviewing video, 90 percent of them, maybe 95 percent, we had already seen and determined there were no issues,” Pagel said. “And maybe somebody calls about something and it was from four hours ago, and all of a sudden you go to the source video and realize there’s nothing there. So it’s a labor-intensive process, and really it’s taking us away from focusing on conducting the event.”
USGA and R&A have come up with one more rule announcing that there will be no future penalties on a player being unaware of a potential breach, he or she would not be considered to have broken a Rules if video technology shows otherwise.
Now, this can be debatable but it’s all good for the game.