Source: SIPA USA/PA Images
CALL-INS FROM golf viewers will no longer form part of the process for assessing potential rule violations, after the sport’s law-makers announced revisions to the Rules of Golf.
The issue has been a controversial one in golf for many years, most recently when Lexi Thompson was denied victory in April’s ANA Inspiration after an email from a viewer led to her receiving a pair of two-stroke penalties, one for incorrectly marking her ball and another for signing an incorrect scorecard.
On Monday, the USGA and R&A confirmed they would discontinue the inclusion of viewer call-ins as of 1 January, 2018.
Officials will instead be assigned to monitor video broadcasts, with a view to identifying and resolving rules issues as they arise.
Additionally, players who inadvertently sign for the wrong score when they are unaware of a penalty will no longer be punished.
In a message posted on her official Twitter account, Thompson wrote: “I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf.
“In my case, I am thankful that no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”
David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director – governance, added: “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.
“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 USGA’s senior director of the Rules of Golf, Thomas Pagel, told Golf Channel’s Morning Drive show: “The message is, as a fan, enjoy watching the game and the best players in the world, but also have the confidence that the committee in charge of the competition have the rules handled.
“Let’s leave the rules and the administration of the event to the players and to those responsible for running the tournament.”
The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):