Lexi's major dream destroyed by armchair pundit

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Lexi's major dream destroyed by armchair pundit




Lexi's major dream destroyed by armchair pundit


John Dean

  Photography: Getty images  


Lexi Thompson was heart–broken and in tears after being landed with a four–stroke penalty while leading the final round of ANA Inspiration. And to make matters worse, she then lost in a play–off to So Yeon Ryu.

The four–stroke penalty was incurred when she incorrectly replaced a marked ball in Saturday's third round. The mistake was spotted by a TV viewer, who then sat on the news before telling officals on Sunday! 

It was only on the 12th hole that Lexi was told off her penalty, when she was  leading the ANA Inspiration by two shots. 

She managed to birdie the 18th to force a play–off which Ryu won at the first hole. 

She missed a 20–foot eagle putt on the last that would have given her the victory she so rightly deserved, but it was just not not to be. 

As for the incident itself, Thompson appeared to put a marker at the side of her ball on the 17th green before lifting it and replacing in front of the marker prior to a putt of less than two feet.

The LPGA said she "breached Rule 20-7c (Playing From Wrong Place), and received a two–stroke penalty. She incurred an additional two-stroke penalty under Rule 6-6d for returning an incorrect scorecard in round three." 

"Is this a joke?" Thompson said after being informed by a rules official, before making birdies on three of the last six holes to force the play–off.

"It is unfortunate with what happened, I did not mean that at all, I had no idea that I did it," Thompson told the Golf Channel.

"I had to regroup myself, my caddie helped me out tremendously, we have a great relationship. I tried to gather myself and I made a great putt at 13.

"But it's all to the fans, they helped me get through the rest of the round and I thank them a lot.

"I learned a lot about myself and how much I have in me. I wasn't expecting what happened today to happen and I will learn from it."

Ryu, who claimed a second major title because of Lexi's penalty,  admitted her win did not feel right.

"I cannot believe the situation. I didn't even check the leaderboard, Lexi was playing so well. I didn't expect it," she said.

"It hurts me as well, it is a weird feeling but at the same time I am proud of myself."

The LPGA issued the following statement: "On Sunday afternoon, the LPGA received an email from a television viewer that Lexi Thompson did not properly replace her ball prior to putting out on the 17th hole during Saturday's third round of the ANA Inspiration.

"She was immediately notified of the breach by LPGA Rules Committee in between holes 12 and 13 of the final round."

LPGA Tour rules official Sue Witters insisted no other option was available.

"What's my choice?" she said. "A violation in the rules and then it would be the opposite story: Oh, they knew, why didn't they do anything about it.

"I can't go to bed tonight knowing that I let a rule slide. You know, it's a hard thing to do, and it made me sick to be honest with you."

But former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that  "the LPGA had the power to dismiss that person (the TV viewer), they should have completely ignored it".

What an utter farce, and a terrible injustice for Lexi. I feel almost sick writing this. Just when we thought that the rules of golf were being properly addressed, this side–winder comes along and blows up the whole thing.

This is a copy of something I just read online about what happened to Lexi over the weekend. Total DISGRACE in the way this was handled by the LPGA rules people. When will the PGA and the LPGA figure it out and STOP paying any attention to what the TV viewers call in? THis whole TV viewer thing is totally UNFAIR to the players that are showen on TV when NONE of the other golfers are being put under the same TV viewers eyes. This needs to END NOW. LEXR was NOT cheating, she made a simple mistake on a short putt, a mistake that did NOT effect to outcome of her putt at all. And then to be given a two stroke penality for the mistake and another 2 stroke penality for signing an incorrect score for a round the day before, was just adding one insult on top the the first one.

scomac's picture
It's not the first time this

It's not the first time this has happened, although this incident appears to have garnered the most controvercy.

In no other sport are off site officials allowed to rule on possible infractions and never after the fact as was the case here.  I have heard that the informant was actually a rules official from another tour that e-mailed the video tape evidence to LPGA officials following the Saturday round.  This is the equivalent of an NCAA basketball official ruling after the fact on an infraction that he/she noticed in an NBA game and then having the NBA uphold the ruling on a play that affected the outcome of the game that was already in the record books.  This type of thing can't happen and yet it is allowed to persist in golf as this has gone on more than once!  Shameful doesn't even begin to describe it!

I've kind of given up on golf as a spectator sport.  frankly, I find it rather boring at this point in time.  there's plenty of athleticism on display, but little skill.  This type of approach to ruling does nothing to endear me, so I simply can't be bothered to watch.  It doesn't help that the USGA and R&A seems to be engaged in a series of very questionable decisions over equipment that panders to the OEMs and does nothing to address maintaining the integrity or spirit of the game and is actually harmful to a lot of the grassroots membership.  It's a classic case of Nero fiddling while Rome burns as both the groove rule and the anchoring bans are complete jokes meanwhile the driver and ball were allowed to be enhanced in such a way as to render many courses obsolete for the professional game doing little to improve the lot of the average member as evidenced by changes in GHIN.

I would love to see the tour

I would love to see the tour officals come out with a statement that says IF they didn't  catch a rules violation when it happened, then the issue is OVER. NO going back to change things the next day  nonsense. IF a player was cheating, then that's a different matter and the cheater should be dealt with in a proper manor.


Putting is easy if you have the Right Putter.

Aimee's picture

Here's the other issue (which had been brought up before)...only the top/top players are followed closely by the cameras. So they are more highly scrutinized...not fair. Second tier players out of sight, out of mind. It is not an even application of the rules.

Golf (PGA, LPGA) needs to stop this nonsense with remote calling in of penalties. Just like an umpire calling balls and strikes, some errors can be made, but once the call is (not) made, it doesn't matter. It's done.

It's not how...it's how many

Just my opinion.

I would have loved to see So Yeon Ryu hit a wedge off the tee in the play off and then use the same wedge the rest of the hole. Kind of her way to tell the LPGA that she Knew in her heart that she had NOT tied for the lead and should NOT have been in a play-off. But that didn't happen for a few reasons, one being the MONEY she would have been giving up as well as the win in a major, something that means a lot to all tour players.And that is all the more reason it would have been nice to see her do the right thing and tell the officals that Lexi deserved to win in regulation, and to stop paying any attention to what TV viewer send in after the fact. I think she would have earned a lot of RESPECT from ALL of her fellow LPGA players as well as most all golfers in the world if she had done the right thing.


Putting is easy if you have the Right Putter.

Scott Rushing
Scott Rushing's picture
Don, So Yeon Ryu probably

Don, So Yeon Ryu probably would have been fined by the tour for not 'playing within the spirit of the rules and the game'.

I agree, no sport should allow fans to call rules.  I realize that in golf, with so many players and shots happening simultaneously it's impossible for the few rules officiansl to catch everything, but that's where you rely on the players - a procedure that stands out among any other major sport - to call their own violations.  We don't need arm-chair officials in that mix.  Mistakes happen, it's part of all sports, we're human. And if you haven't discovered something by the time a players round begins, move on.    Fringe players benfit from the unfair application of rulings like this when they do not get put under equal scrutiny because they don't see airtime like the top tier players

It's a blemish to me for the LPGA (I think the PGA put a rule in place a few years back to not allow this..or I thought they did) .... like a tee ball hitting a tree...time to pull this ball out of play


Golf is a game that can only be played...

GolfGearReview.com Administrator

Scott; You could be correct

Scott; You could be correct about the fine, but I think it would have been worth it to make the point that Lexi deserved to win the event out right. As for the PGA making a rules change to prevent this type of thing from happening on the PGA Tour, I have not heard of it but I would love to see it happen, and soon for both the PGA and the LPGA.

I think the two stroke penilty for signing an incorrect score card was a bad call since the score card WAS CORRECT at the time Lexi signed it. It was AFTER the fact that the penility was accessed, so the score card was correct as far and anyone knew at the time Lexi signed it. Bad enough to give Lexi the 2 stroke penality but to add 2 more for signing an incorrect card is adding insult to injury.


Putting is easy if you have the Right Putter.