The Lexi Thompson Ruling and it’s Impact on the Game
The rules of the game have had the spotlight as of late with the release of a new, looser, set of rules planned to be rolled out after review and feedback from the golf community.
The latest fiasco where the LPGA’s Lexi Thompson was penalized for an infraction emailed-in by a spectator a day late, has been ill-received by the golf community. Costing her a Major tournament, Lexi took the ruling much more elegantly than most, but it opened up a can of worms and leaves many unanswered questions from the gallery.
Upon further view, there was indeed an infraction. But there shouldn’t have been a “further-review”! Thompson, who had a short putt, replaced her ball an inch-off of where her marker was placed. She didn’t notice, her opponents didn’t notice, so play went on. Like all other aspects of life these days, cameras are everywhere and catch things that we normally wouldn’t. The problem here is that no penalties were declared by the rules officials before signing the card and she was unaware of any infractions, so how can this be brought to her attention a day later as she’s coming down the stretch with a two-shot lead. If we watched tapes of old tournaments and noticed missed penalties would we start stripping Green Jackets?
With a very black and white rule book, the application of these rules is still pretty grey. If the O.B. is just marked with stakes and no painted line, there is a margin of error. If your wet sand-wedge picks up a few grains of sand in the bunker as you address the ball, there is a margin of error there. If you’re in the woods and you pick away a twig to clear your ball and it slightly budges, there is a margin of error there. That margin of error and the way that it’s governed has to be addressed in order to keep our game moving forward.
A hat-tip goes to Lexi for her ability to handle this situation with grace and we hope that the powers-that-be learned from their mistake and assures this doesn’t happen again.