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Golf: Trial By Television

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

“Viewers at home should not be officials wearing stripes. Let's go @Lexi, win this thing anyway.” That’s from Tiger Woods responding to the four-stroke penalty Lexi Thompson was made aware of after walking off of the 12th green on Sunday during the fourth round of the ANA.

The full story

Michael Shamburger writes, “On Sunday afternoon, the LPGA received an email from a television viewer, saying 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. The claim was quickly investigated by LPGA Rules officials.
After a full review, it was determined that Thompson 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. She was immediately notified of the breach by LPGA Rules Committee in between holes 12 and 13 of the final round.

No significant advantage
“After a full review, it was determined that Thompson breached Rule 20-7c (Playing From Wrong Place).
Pray tell me why not a disqualification for playing from the wrong place? – Answer follows.

Well it seems that in accordance with the rules of golf the LPGA Rules Committee decided that Lexi did not receive a “significant advantage” when replacing her ball, hence a mere two-stroke penalty.

Yesterday and today
Given the news that at Bob Dylan is about to receive his Nobel Prize, perhaps that’s why I’m thinking the times they are a changin’ and every time I read about playing from the wrong place I’m reminded of Bobby Locke’s luck in the 1957 Open Championship at St Andrews.

“Old muffin face” survived a possible disqualification when he marked his ball on the 72nd green and re-placed it in the wrong place. However his misdemeanour was not observed by the officials until a television viewer brought it to the attention of the R&A and they wisely decided not to go there.

Fortunately for Bobby, playing a ball from the wrong place was not specifically addressed in the rules back in 1957.  Therefore, instead of the two-shot penalty it is today, he would have been disqualified in those days for playing from the wrong place. 

Thanks to Rule 20-7c the times have indeed changed and Lexi lived to fight another day.

Link to Michael Shamburger

Quote of the Day
“It may be safe to assume that said viewer had money on the line.” - Anonymous


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