PGA Finally Getting Rid of Stupid Rule that Lets Fans Watching on TV Report Rules Violations

Image via Getty

Image via Getty

The USGA and the R&A have announced a pretty significant policy change. Unfortunately, it will take effect nine months too late to help Lexi Thompson.

As of January 1, 2018, tournament officials from the world’s top pro golf tours will no longer field or consider reports of rules violations from television viewers.

Such reports have been the source of major controversies in recent years. Back in April, Lexi Thompson was assessed a four-stroke penalty at the ANA Inspiration: two strokes for improperly marking a ball, and two more for signing an incorrect scorecard. The violation occurred during the third round, but the penalty wasn’t assessed until midway through the fourth round, after a television viewer emailed the LPGA. The shocking penalty erased Thompson’s four-stroke lead and left her in tears. She eventually lost the tournament in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

There was a similar controversy at the 2013 Masters. Tiger Woods was assessed a two-stroke penalty in the third round after a television viewer called to report an improper drop in the second round. Fortunately, this penalty didn’t end up affecting the outcome of the tournament.

The change in policy was announced jointly by the USGA and the R&A, golf’s governing bodies, on Monday.

“The message we’re putting out to fans is, what you’ve seen, we’ve seen,” said USGA senior rules director Thomas Pagel. “Have confidence in us running the event. We want you to be a fan. Enjoy watching the world’s best players. Let the rules be handled inside the ropes between the players and officials.”

Or in other words, all you rules-obsessed golf nerds can just chill the hell out.

The USGA and the R&A also announced two more related policy tweaks. First, officials will only review footage provided by a tournament’s broadcast partners and not footage shot by fans. Second, players will no longer be assessed a two-stroke penalty for filing an incorrect scorecard when they weren’t aware of any violations.

Sounds like common sense is starting to prevail in the world of professional golf.

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Tags: Golf, lexi thompson, PGA, Tiger Woods, USGA, video review,