Lexi Thompson Penalty Follow Up

I have been asked for my personal comment on the Lexi Thompson penalty, and in this instance, feel obliged to do so for two reasons, first because it was, in many respects very debatable, and second because I feel strongly about the issue of armchair referees.

For reference the Rules of Golf define, in part ; Referee    A “referee” is one who is appointed by the Committee to decide questions of fact and apply the Rules. He must act on any breach of a Rule that he observes or is reported to him.”  There are slightly different duties for Match Play.

An “armchair referee” is not a person appointed by the Committee and in my opinion, the Rules of Golf do not contemplate that the “reporting” of a breach would emanate from outside the venue of the competition.

Using a technology — designed to provide enhanced entertainment with fantastic slow-motion HD visuals of ball compression at impact, facial expressions of both the thrill of conquest, the heartbreak of misfortune, or the grains of sand as the ball explodes from a bunker — to override that which we consider sacrosanct i.e. the integrity of the golfer, is inappropriate and violates the very fundamental essence of the game.

Let’s try to protect the Spirit of the Game which relies on integrity of the golfer, to not only show consideration for others but to abide by the Rules. Hence, we have no need for referees or umpires – except in major events to help the competitor interpret the rules — we are those people.

We play golf to satisfy a subconscious urge to evaluate ourselves while in the pleasant company of other likeminded people, in an attractive environment. The rules lend order to this wonderful activity but let’s make sure we apply them appropriately knowing what it is that we are trying to protect.

I encourage you to leave your comments below.



3rd April 2017 Post: Lexi Thompson Penalty

Dear Frankly Friends,

Yesterday we witnessed yet another rules drama at a major championship.

We would like to hear what you think about the four-stroke penalty that Lexi Thompson was assessed on the 13th tee of the final round, after a TV viewer emailed the LPGA to alert them to a rules infraction they had seen on TV the previous day.

We are very interested in hearing what you have to say about this issue. Please share your thoughts by replying below.

Thank you.

Frank and Valerie

173 thoughts on “Lexi Thompson Penalty Follow Up

  1. I agree completely with Frank that “armchair viewers” have no place in the game and absolutely no right to give their opinions.
    More importantly, it is critical that the USGA and R&A refuse to take any further “calls” on such topics from viewers. There have been 3 or 4 instances in the last year or two when “viewer” input has, via slow mo TV, been taken up by the ruling bodies and players retrospectively penalised. This TV and “viewer” scrutiny has no place in golf, the officials need to take responsibility for rules infractions and if they do not see any, nor do players not report any, then there is no penalty.
    As a lifelong golfer and ardent fan this retrospective “slow mo” TV scrutiny is destroying my faith in the ruling bodies to administer the game. If they are not up to the task, step aside and allow others to adjudicate. The current officials seem to be terrified of “public opinion” and the media circus. What Lexi did was a mistake, but not a material one, and should have been ignored. On the day Lexi was the best golfer and if we start to lose that concept, the game will be dead as a spectator sport.
    Jack Paton, Troon, Scotland

  2. Some of the comments are getting personal, rude and silly. To say someone would be a cheat if they had a ref with them who didn’t see something is downright rude. Really!! C’mon guys

  3. Imagine if this logic was applied at the US football Superbowl. Say a viewer spotted an infringement in a match-winning score that was missed by the officials. Applying the logic of of Richard P. he should have the right to email in and have the match result overturned after the event because of the “nightmare” that a team had won who shouldn’t have. We are talking about sports. Everyone makes mistakes and officials do miss fouls occasionally. The competitors just have to live with it, which they do. It’s called swings and roundabouts.

    • Except that in golf the player is his own referee and expected to abide by the rules. Or maybe the next time you play golf you want to bring a rules official with you. And cheat every time he looks another away. Like some players do in other sports, such as soccer.

      • I certainly don’t want to bring an unqualified spectator with me who is nit-picking my every shot / action. If a player(s) cheats it is up to the officials and the various golf organisations to sort it out, not self-appointed referees.

      • Besides which, it is not necessarily cheating but an accidental mistake or are you calling Lexi Thomson a cheat?

      • Give me one reason why a professional golfer would mark a 6-inch putt and place the ball in a different position if it was not to gain an advantage.

      • Get serious. Even the world’s greatest duffer would gain no advantage by repositiong a six inch putt one half inch let alone a world class professional. It was a costly careless action, absolutely no cheat intended. Because of her carelessness, the best golfer in that tournament did not win it.

      • I already answered your question. no she did not cheat and she is not stupid, she was careless….read it CARELESS. She is a young person, surely excited and was not careful enough in her effort to get it done. I seriously doubt you are a golfer who has ever competed, or you would get it.

      • It’s not a question of cheating, I doubt she did it Internationally. However, it very easily could have made a difference depending on the break of the green, or maybe there was a spike mark in her way. As a Rules official, I have caught players cheating by wrongly replacing their ball. But the truth is, it didn’t matter, she clearly broke the rules. That is not debatable. The fact that so many seem to overlook it is appalling and speaks volumes for ONE’s integrity.

      • Some golfers draw lines on their balls for alignment to the hole. They then go through gyrations to perfectly point the line at the hole before they putt. Some pros will drive you crazy aiming the line two or three times before they putt. It appears that Lexi was about to putt, realized her line was pointing elsewhere, marked the ball, spun the ball to re-position the line, then accidentally, placed the ball in the wrong spot before tapping the ball in the hole.

  4. A sad day for LPGA and especially a travesty against Lexi. She is a much bigger person than the Rules Officials or the lowlife that emailed in, Arm Chair Quarterbacking a day later. Especially with the extra work this tournament took with weather delay. Can you imagine other sports of any kind having spectators making the calls. A very low day in Golf.

  5. Wow! That’s all I can say. 2 strokes maybe, but not 4. Let’s get these rules changed. It seems to be the only sport where a viewer can have a penalty called on a player. Why have an appointed ref if this can happen?

  6. I’m not sure the camera angle was spot on the replacement line that the ball was initially marked. I don’t believe that an armchair referee is needed, also if the player is penalized in such a circumstance, they should be advised before signing their scorecard. The additional penalty in this case is uncalled for. Maybe we should assign a land surveyor to accompany each group in a tournament to ensure that the ball is replaced on the same blade of grass. How much more ridiculous can we get?

  7. I, as a viewer, should have just as much the right to report a perceived infraction as someone on the scene. The referees then decide whether there was an actual infraction – as in any sport. If a viewer had not reported the infraction, we would have had the nightmare of a major “winner” who was not. What is unfair is the length of time that passed, a period that led to a double penalty, correctly applied but unfair in spirit. Perhaps a statute of limitations is in order on that one.

    • As a viewer you have no “rights” Were you trained and hired as a rules official? I watch all kinds of sports and no one has a right as a spectator, which is what you are, to report infractions. The rules makers of golf should get their act together and not allow it.
      You sir are arrogant in your viewpoint.

    • I agree with Ray. Viewers have no rights in golf or in any sport. The golf organizations are uniformly wrong in acknowledging the input of anyone but a participant or an official. ‘Arrogance’ is a very polite term for this kind of uncivilized behavior.

      • So, if I’m helping Tiger Woods move a 2,000-lb “loose impediment” so that he’ll then have a clear shot to the green and I happen to notice him footwedge his ball a few inches, I “shouldn’t” alert a Rules Official, huh?

        Wake up, kids.

      • That event had plenty of coverage. Rules officials and other players were in attendance. The TV viewer has no say in the adjudication of any rules violation. Of course, everyone has an opinion.

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