I’ve watched the clip of Lexi Thompson marking a golf ball and replacing it about 1,000 times now. Obviously no one knows her intent except her — maybe it was just complete negligence — but she 100 percent moved the position of her golf ball in relation to her coin. It couldn’t be more cut and dry than that. So, file this under super unpopular opinions, but I believe she deserved to be penalized.

I’m not saying Thompson did this on purpose, but there are ways in golf to skirt the rules in order to give yourself an advantage. Moving a golf ball on the green, for whatever reason, is somewhere at the top of that list. Just because an act of bending the rules isn’t blatant doesn’t make it any more right.

What if, instead of moving a ball on the green, there was video that showed she fluffed a lie in the rough on Saturday and she got called out? I’ll go out on a limb and say the general public wouldn’t have her back in that circumstance.

Also, it’s no surprise that Tiger Woods came to her defense on Twitter. He himself was the victim of very similar circumstances in 2013 when he was caught on camera disobeying the rules of golf, and fans called him on it. I understand that Woods and Thompson, given their positions in the game, are under more scrutiny because they’re on television more often than other players, but what’s so wrong about getting the rules right?

People love to make comparisons to other sports, too.

“This is like a fan calling into Major League Baseball about a pitch an umpire got wrong and them changing the result of the game the next day.”

To that I say, well, not really.

In most any other sports, there’s an objective referee who’s making judgement calls based on what they see in real time. In certain circumstances, officials can review replays to get the call right. There’s no rule against an umpire getting a judgement call wrong. Baseball doesn’t defer to fans on strikes and balls, just like football doesn’t look to fans to correct a catch that was ruled a drop.

In golf, however, the rules permit fans to call in if they believe the rules were broken. The governing bodies allow it. And you know what… with so many moving parts on a golf course, maybe this is for the best. Other sports are confined to an arena or a court or a stadium where things can be controlled. In golf, it’s almost impossible for rules officials to keep an eye on every single player in a tournament at a given time, or review every single thing that happened on a telecast. By allowing fans to call in about wrongdoings, it increases the odds that every player is playing by the rules. Isn’t that what everyone wants?

The best solution I can come up with is to implement some kind of time-sensitive rule where if a penalty isn’t called by midnight of that day, then no penalty can be called by an outside force and the player can only call it on themselves. I agree it’s not fair for Thompson or any player to have to deal with a penalty from the day before, especially while they’re on the course competing for majors and paychecks. In cases such as this one, I also don’t think a player should be subjected to a penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard since they were unaware of wrongdoing at the time.

But the rules of golf, until 2018 at least, will never allow golfers to knowingly or unknowingly mark their golf ball on the green and then replace it in a different location. Thompson incurred a penalty for her actions, and I believe it was the right call.

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Andrew Tursky is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team while earning a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

173 COMMENTS

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  1. Instead of deciding on how many or how sharp the nails are for the coffin, we need a constructive solution to make sure this issue is permanently eliminated while dealing with it in a very simple way. My suggestion is that official GPS chipped balls be mandated that will be addressable to enable play at whatever level of positional accuracy is desired. Bingo, very high ball positional compliance, with real-time location verification coupled to a phone app for Caddy’s, players, rules officials. Bingo we have automatic, audit-able, locational accuracy within whatever tolerance has been established for the venue/tour/tournament. All data is in the cloud and can be checked and verified by any duly authorized tournament official anytime. Bingo, this issue goes away for good and all the quibbling gibber jabber with it. Lets move golf in the same direction that most other major league sports are going in relationship to leveraging technology and the 21st century.

  2. Instead of deciding on how many or how sharp the nails are for the coffin, we need a constructive solution to make sure this issue is permanently eliminated while dealing with it in a very simple way. My suggestion is that official GPS chipped balls be mandated that will be addressable to enable play at whatever level of positional accuracy is desired. Bingo, very high ball positional compliance, with real-time location verification coupled to a phone app for Caddy’s, players, rules officials. Bingo we have automatic, auditable, locational accuracy within whatever tolerance has been established for the venue/tour/tournament. All data is in the cloud and can be checked and verified by any duly authorized tournament official anytime. Bingo, this issue goes away for good and all the quibbling gibber jabber with it. Lets move golf in the same direction that most other major league sports are going in relationship to leveraging technology and the 21st century.

  3. 100% penalty. She did not MARK the ball and come back to put the ball down. She picked it up and setup it down in another position. I was not like she marked the ball, picked the ball up and then came back and made a mistake. What is strange is that any professional golfer would think picking the ball up and putting it in another place is on the tour. The tour is for money. It is not like a casual round.

    • John, I must fully endorse your view. We all see from this videio that she put the ball back in another position, not behind the marker, but to its side. May be careless or whatever she may have dreamt of, there was a reason for her to change the ball position to the side. It’s clearly stated in the rules that for signing an incorrect scorecard – omitting the penalty strokes from playing from a wrong ball position – you are normally disqualified, but in her case the penalty was deemed to high and she was awarded another 2 penalty strokes. What we in Germany cannot understand is that such an eminent female player can be so careless about the rules. She will surely learn from this incident and become a more rules-conscious and attentive player in the future.

  4. Whether you think she deserved a penalty or not, answer this for me. Once you lift, it is impossible to put a ball down exactly, marker or not. It’s just physically impossible to be exact. That said, what is the MARGIN OF ERROR? Do we penalise at 1mm? 1cm? 1inch? When you put down a marker adjoining a ball, one might say that as long as you put it back in contact with the marker, you’re deemed acceptable. Or not. I don’t know.

    What is your radius of acceptable error?

  5. Your comment about other sports ruling changes happening on the next day is absolutely the same situation. Why should she be penalized the next day? Once your next round starts there should be no scoring adjustments to previous rounds. Also, how is it far the people can call in when more than half the LPGA & PGA pros never see tv time? More than half those fields are protected from ever getting reviewed. If it’s a rule then ever player should have equal tv time.

  6. After watching the replay, and having some background in film, video, and photography I would modify my opinion somewhat. Such a small increment of visual difference may be influenced by Lexi moving, a slight shift in the camera. The spot was very close. Also under the new rules “spike marks” are fixable now correct?

    My final comment is if you have a issue submit immediately Video submitted the next day can only be reviewed if the judgement can be made before start of play. Who is the submitter anyway some guy in the UK with heavy money on a parlay at Ladbrookes? LOL

  7. AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!! This “article” had a 4 to 1 shank to like ratio, in about 24 hours it has received OVER 1,000 votes to send it to the “LIKE” column with LESS than 100 “SHANK” Votes,,, this website is loosing more and more credibility,,,,,,,

  8. Two stroke penalty for replacing ball in different spot. No penalty IMHO for signing incorrect card. Mute point since rule changes are coming. Also, I wonder how often said viewer plays by all the rules for example, “play it where it lies” and never, ever rolls it over for a better lie because the mower didn’t cut the spot his ball came to rest in. I don’t want to hear about how it only applies to the professional golfer since the rules of golf are suppose to apply to everyone especially if your keeping a valid handicap. :)

  9. I think Lexi committed a rules infraction. I think the problem is that the Tours or USGA or British Open doesn’t have a clear process for handling this. IMO and what I understand I have the round on DVR. Lexi is notified on the 12 hole?? The occurrence was the day before for both infractions. Notify the player, then the field prior to play. Yes lots of day to day golfers don’t exactly replace and it’s a rule. People who play some tournament (local, club, charity outing etc.) golf of any kind I think try to follow rules as they understand them and those infractions are by the golfer or called by a third party on the spot. We need something similar for pro golf.

  10. I always thought that one of the tenants of tournament golf was that all competitors played each round under ‘the same conditions’. You don’t have the morning wave play the ball down, then the afternoon wave play lift, clean and place. You don’t move the pin position on a hole during the same round. So if every shot of every player is not video taped and reviewed, aren’t players playing under ‘separate conditions’? Did she commit an inadvertent breach of the rules, A=Yes. Should anyone other than a competitor or a rules official be able to identify and call out a penalty, A=NO!

    • There is an old story from the Masters. It was told anonymously as I heard it; but I think it is true. No matter. It illustrates the point I wish to make.

      Story goes, one of the past champions was playing in the toonamint, and needed a ruling on something. And an official came over (the Masters was never a regular PGA Tour event way back when, and in fact got volunteers from the PGA, the USGA and the R&A to help out) and looked over the situation. “What [score] are you?” the official asked. “I’m seven over,” the player responded. “Oh hell,” the official said, “just go ahead and do whatever you want.”

      I’m not bothered in the slightest, if tv pays more attention to players in the lead who might win or lose the event. That is precisely where we want the maximum Rules attention.

  11. She should have been DQ’d for signing an incorrect scorecard. Just like DiVichenzo years ago at the Masters. Just like Woods should have been DQ’d years ago for an improper drop, and signing an incorrect scorecard at the Masters.

    • You might wanna double check your facts before posting nonsense. DeVichenzo had to take a higher score than what he shot because he signed for the wrong number (his marker wrote par on a hole he birdied). So there is no DQ in that case. Had he signed for a lower number he would’ve been DQ.

  12. If she had marked , lifted the ball , taken it to her towel for cleaning , returned to her marker , and THEN replaced it incorrectly , she MAY have had an excuse . But she only lifted it a few inches and put it back down one inch to the left . NO EXCUSES .
    Like Phil says , this violation happens all the time in the men’s game . We amateurs have MORE rulings called against us in our “majors ” (club championships , etc ) because most referees don’t mind calling infringements in “small games” , but are too scared to put their neck in a noose against “big stars” .

  13. Don’t disagree a penalty was appropriate under the present rules. But, the present rules are ridiculous! And, if a penalty was appropriate, it should have been addressed the same day, not from some idiot viewer by email the following day. A pro’s career is judged by major championships. A great many of the golfers in the Hall of Fame never had to contend with Monday morning quarterbacks regarding their play. Let’s put current day players under the same conditions as the other major winners in the Hall. That’s a level playing field. Change the rule and prohibit TV viewers from wearing stripes as Tiger says.

  14. Don’t disagree a penalty was appropriate under the present rules. But, the present rules are ridiculous! And, if a penalty was appropriate, it should have been addressed the same day, not from some idiot viewer by email the following day. A pro’s career is judged by major championships. A great many of the golfers in the Hall of Fame never had to contend with Monday morning quarterbacks regarding their play. Let’s put current day players under the same conditions as the other major winners in the Hall. That’s a level playing field.

  15. Agreed 100%. Ok, so she has been bust this once, how many other times has she done this? If this was a once off, unlucky, learn from it and move on. If this is repetitive she is lucky to only have received 4 stroke penalty. The way she reacted to officials would indicate she is fully aware of the her shoddy way that she marks the ball.

  16. I think a much less invasive line with Lexi should have been taken. When the email or call came in… the person receiving this should have made a call to the LPGA official on sight. With this knowledge… she or he should have waited until the completed round. The official should have sat down with Lexi alone and behind closed doors. She / he should have made Lexi aware of her problematic mark and replace. The official should have made the point that she should be more aware of how she marks and replaces her ball in all situations. Perhaps indicating further digression from the rules would be more closely acted on. She should have probably been awarded the trophy. The are so many infractions in remarking that it needs to be addressed on a one to one basis. Repeat offenders…. more aggressive penalties once notified. I think this sets a healthy precedent for all golfers . Either don’t take the info or shove a discussion with the player identified.

    • They could invent a golf ball marker that must be universally used by all playing the game according to the rules, where the marker is in the shape of a crescent moon, whereby the ball fits perfectly to that shape, with an arrow on the crescent that indicates which way the cup is pointed so there is no doubt in lining up the marker behind the ball and there is no doubt in replacing the ball in the exact same spot. Yes it would be an odd shape, and might be an eye sore, but at least then there would be more consistency and no trickery when replacing the ball. If the marker needs to be moved for the competitor’s putt, they should be allowed to use a marker pen and drop a dot on the spot where the marker needs to go back. So yes all players need to carry a marker pen in their bag, and they do, anyways, for writing on their ball before they put a new ball into play.

  17. Well, safe to say that she’ll never be marking the ball in this way again, now that she has been caught red-handed doing it. If she did it nonchalantly at a major event like this without even thinking that she would caught Doug it, you know she’s been doing it her entire career. I mean it’s so obvious she just did it thinking that nobody’s watching, as she had been doing it all her life, that she didn’t give a second’s thought and automatically put it down where she felt she could get a nice line for her putt, and went ahead and did it so casually.
    That’s more the issue here than the fact that we now have cameras to catch them all doing it.

  18. Went from 200 likes to 1,400 likes overnight? I see they kept the Shank numbers the same… Hmmm… Wonder if anyone is monkeying with the controls of a story’s reaction. Maybe can’t take it when people don’t like your story, eh?

    • They’ve absolutely artificially bumped the likes. I love this site, but when this kind of garbage happens it’s frustrating. Sort of like giving a 4 stroke penalty to a competitor because a major sponsor sends an email demanding the rules officials review a possible infraction 24 hours after it happened. It’s a new low for golf.

    • I noticed that too. Quite strange seeing that 90% of what I see is people having a problem with he scorecard penalty. The extra 2 strokes is the difference between her winning and losing.

  19. Lets face it, everytime a player picks up a ball and marks it, it will be replaced in a slightly different spot than it was originally. It’s amost an impossibility to replace it in the EXACT same location (therefore, every player who marks and picks up a ball on the green could conceivably be penalized 2 strokes). I think it’s more of an issue with the degree it was misplaced and the intent. In this case it was certainly misplaced to a degree where it was noticable and deserved the 2 stroke penalty regardless of the intent.

    My issue is that if a TV viewer notices a violation of rules, and they don’t like the player, they can intentionally wait until after the round is over to send an email to the PGA and intentionally cause it to become a 4 stroke penalty. Regardless, if the violation isn’t caught until after the round is over, there shouldn’t be any additional penalty to the player. The rule being broke deserves a penalty, but we shouldn’t allow viewers to overly determine the outcome of a match.

  20. I agree she should be penalized under the current rules. However, she should not have been penalized for signing a wrong scorecard. How can you be penalized for signing a wrong scorecard when you didn’t know you were penalized in the first place. No outsider should be able to call in. It’s unfair because not every player gets the same tv coverage. Lastly, he/she needs to be notified before their next round starts if there is to be a penalty of some sort.

    • It’s possible she didn’t intend to cheat as the ball was moved sideways not forwards probably due to the fact she tried to mark the ball from the side and in a hurry and lost her reference point. This appears to be more of a sloppy mistake. She should have been penalized for playing a ball from the wrong spot but not for signing an incorrect scorecard. If a couch jockey referee can spot the infraction going forwards tours need to have rules officials dedicated to watching each player to assist in rules interpretations and players relief to speed up play but also for rules infractions so the penalties can be assessed on the spot and contested the day of the infraction and not allow callers to call in violations. If a rules official misses something and the player doesn’t call it and signs a scorecard the day is done. If something comes to light the day after an official warning can go out to the player and I’m sure the officials will watch them more closely at future events.

  21. Penalties by TV coverage should never be assessed.
    Until ALL participants receive the equal amount of TV coverage, then this type of rules enforcement is 100% completely and totally biased and therefor 100% completely and totally unfounded.
    Many LPGA players who played this tournament received little or no TV coverage at all. This provides them a distinct advantage over those players who are covered on TV.

  22. I agree that whatever her intention maybe, she did not properly place the ball the same way it was. The thing that gets me is the fact that not every player will have a camera on them unless you are on the top of the leader board or in the chase. The level playing field then is no longer level. In order to give everybody the fair shake in this regard as to allowing callers to chime in is to have every player with a designated camera man as to allow the viewing public the same opportunity to watch the players for any rules violations and call in. That is what needs to be addressed by the LPGA

  23. She screwed up, so she had to pay the piper. She should have only be on the hook for 2 shots though, not 4. What’s the point of having walking officials if they’re not involved enough to stop scenarios such as this from happening? Maybe one day they’ll stop talking about cleaning up the rules & actually do it. If they’d allow the rule book to be changed on the fly, it could be done on an ongoing, situational basis, instead of once every other year. But, that would only make sense & logic gives way when it comes to those in charge of the rules of golf.

  24. She did incur a penalty, it is the severity and timing of the penalty that is the issue. What if a fan called in after the tournament was over and the trophy had been awarded. How would have this played out? If Lexie had won by four strokes and the trophy awarded, would they then call the players back for a playoff, likely not. Would Lexie have played the final round differently had she received the penalty at the beginning of the round, likely yes. The timing of the decision is the problem. She should have received a 2 stroke penalty for the improper marking of the ball, not an additional 2 strokes for signing an incorrect scorecard. There was no blatant or intentional breaking of the rules, she made an honest mistake. In two years, it won’t matter when the simplified changes take place. As per rescinding Olympic Medals and Tour de France titles, those are for Drug infractions, ie cheating. Lexie did not cheat. (Mike drop)

  25. I will be honest. Reflecting my own actions on the fields, when I did the same thing I knew exactly what I was doing. Let’s be honest guys, many of us did it too. And, those of us knew exactly what we were doing. Of course, there are exceptions, but honestly what’s the odd in YOU DOING THE SAME THING unintentionally? For me, I have no chance of doing the same thing unintentionally. If I put the chip not directly behind the ball but on an angle, it was already premeditated. Of course, Lexi can be an exception. But, if I’m a member of the governing body/referees and a TV viewer points it out, which is allowed, then I would have no option but to access the penalty.

    However, i think many people defending her is because of her look. She is indeed a popular in golfwrx. I’m actually a fan of her. And, to be honest I personally like her because of her looks. I cannot help but think many people here are personally offended because they are a fan.

  26. What if she had put the ball 1 inch behind her marker??? Or 50 yards back down the fairway for a wedge shot? Is it always assumed you gained an advantage by not placing your ball precisely from where you picked it up?

  27. Did she violate the rules – surely she did. My issue is w/ the mid round acknowledgement by the LPGA that she should receive her penalty. Golf is the only professional sport I know of that expects the players to call their own penalties. As to the issue that it’s acceptable to have viewers call in penalties; well the players that tee off before coverage start simply are at an advantage of not having TV coverage (likely no coverage) for viewers to see and call in a penalty? Seems like an advantage; which this very rule is meant to prevent. Given the fact her competitor nor the rules official caught it, suggests to me there wasn’t a true issue. I have little tournament experience but if I am not mistaken isn’t their a witness to a players scorecard that requires signing? Was her playing partner penalized for signing the same incorrect scorecard?

  28. Yes you are pretty much. She gained no advantage. And that happens 100 times every tournament. Her playing partner, the rules official, the std bearer, and the tv crew at the time didnt see it. It took super slo mo and an extreme close up.

  29. Is it just me, the sad story for Lexi Thomson’s ANA result is nothing really important, it’s just interesting. I’m personally more disturbed by the comments of some that attribute a race to the motive of the caller. What difference would their nationality or position make anyway? Sad times.

  30. Yeah, she “moved” the ball – but you know what so do about 99%+ of the players who mark a ball – most do not move it as much as she did, but, per the rule, most do not put it back in the exact/same place – so is 1/64th an inch a penalty? What about 1/8th?? Where do you draw the line, even though the rule does not specify a “distance”

  31. I haven’t read all comments but it really annoys the crap out of me when people say she shouldn’t have been penalised. SHE BROKE ONE OF THE RULES! It doesn’t matter if she did it intentionally or not. There is no ruling or decision with regard to intent when playing from a wrong place. She absolutely moved the ball so she played from a wrong place. She should be penalised, end of story.

    Secondly, it really bugs me when people make the argument that at the time of signing her card, her card was correct because she hadn’t been given the penaly yet. She may not have been assessed the penalty, but she had INCURRED THE PENALTY THE MINUTE SHE PLAYED THE BALL FROM THE WRONG PLACE! Just because she claims she didn’t know (even though I think she did it intentionally), doesn’t mean she didn’t break the rule. She played the ball from the wrong place on the 17th green in the third round. That’s when the penalty was incurred and the 2 strokes should have been added to her score. As she didn’t do that, she signed her card for 2 shots less than she should have and was rightfully penalised a further 2 strokes for signing an incorrect score card. She’s lucky that rule was changed and she wasn’t disqualified.

    Thirdly, this situation has nothing to do with how the decisions was handled. It has everything to do with peoples perception and opinion on the rule itself. Most of the people claiming it was a stupid ruling, don’t understand the rules. The LPGA applied the ruling in the correct manner given the rules as they currently stand. There should be no discussion about the ruling itseld here, only whether or not the rules should be changed.

    Personally, I think the markers should be responsible for this kind of thing. What if her playing partners had noticed and she was penalised at the end of the round on Saturday. She wouldn’t have signed an incorrect scorecard and would have only lost 2 shots. Would that not have meant she would have won? Food for thought perhaps?

  32. Probably has been stated, but count me among those that says she deserved it IF CALLED BY PROPER OFFICIALS. Those are limited to self, competitors, walking officials and tour television reviewers. If that is not standard protocol, it should be. For each tour around the world.

  33. she clearly screwed up wouldnt be surprised if there was a spike mark right in front of her ball you are kidding me if you think that was an accident you dont mark your ball and move it an inch left for no reason not even side marking it .if you think otherwise than your as silly as 90% of the people in here

  34. This is about as bad as the use of the measuring stick in the NFL. Why the NFL doesn’t use video replay to spot the ball every play for iffy 1st downs is beyond me. Why do they rely on the official on the field to spot the ball, and then have to use the measuring chain (in this day and age) to see if the player got the 1st Down? The official might have got the spot wrong (and this happens all the time), but they don’t use the video replay to spot the ball at the exact place.

  35. Andrew Tursky, you just became my favorite writer at GolfWRX. Certainly the guttiest, because we both know what the popular reaction here would be.

    Not that I understand the opposition. Yes; golf is not basketball or football. Who wants to emulate basketball, or football, anyway?

    I love these Rules controversies. I always use them, to check/expand/test my own knowledge of the Rules and Tour etiquette.

    Personally, I think that Lexi stood over that short putt, saw a possible spike mark she didn’t like, and then marked, just to get a little bit of an edge around the mark. But honestly, that allegation doesn’t need to be made, because the evidence is there no matter what she intended. It is not an “intent” violation. I really didn’t see a spike mark on the video, either. So forget all that.

    The right call was made. Beyond any doubt, the right call was made, involving the leader on the back nine in the last round of a major.

    Kudos, Andrew Tursky.

    • You basically just echoed the response of the person who doesn’t understand why the game is in decline. “The rules are the rules, intent does not matter!” How moronic! Intent should matter! There is a huge difference between dropping a ball out of your pocket and inadvertently snapping a twig on your backswing in a hazard. I would bet $100 that you are also a fairly decent golfer. You carry a 14 handicap, but really play like a 10. Most of the guys at the club fudge a few shots so you have too right? That’s definitely cheating! The rules of golf are so complicated that the tour pros at the highest level will not take a drop off a cart path without calling in a rules official. One golf course marks a hazard surrounding an island green with red stakes and another course marks it with yellow stakes, so even though you are in the same exaction situation, you have to take different relief if you hit it in the water. You crush a 300-yard drive a little left it hits a cart path and rolls out of bounds. Re-tee and hit 3! Your playing partner whiffs, takes a huge divot, loses his balance, and falls down, but he’s only hitting 2 off the tee! That makes sense right? Lexi’s putt was 12 inches and she replaced her ball a half inch from where she should have. Why? There was probably an imperfection in the green like a spike mark. I agree she should have been penalized something under the current rules, but this putt would have been made by any non-golfer 99% of the time so sure a four-shot penalty sounds about right! The USGA finally appears to be getting a clue with some of the recent proposed rule changes, but we will see.

  36. It’s a sad day for golf. Few players are televised and once the card is signed and not contested, score is legit. This isn’t a doping issue like the Tour De France. Did what happened move the needle, no. Golf is lost. New rules coming are going to allow players and caddies pick the ball ip in the rough to ID. How is this inline? It’s a joke. Chops watching on TV and emailing or calling in, please? The tours are slow enough, this doesn’t help. It’s a sad day and one of the few players with 100+ MPH got shafted.

  37. Fans didn’t call out Tiger. . . so I think that’s an unfair statement . . . an experienced rules official did. Fans implies multiple people, and it was pretty obvious that everyone else in the wide world of sports didn’t notice the drop.
    Back to the matter at hand . . .
    It would be one thing if she fluffed her lie in the rough . . . but this is probably half a centimeter difference. . . come on. Did what she did really give her an unfair advantage over the field? It obviously wasn’t perfect, but there is no way in hell you can convince me that things like that don’t happen every week on the PGA Tour.
    Not that my opinion is worth anything. . . at least I can acknowledge it . . . unlike some others on this website.

  38. At the worst it should’ve been a 2 stroke penalty. At the time the scorecard was signed it was technically a correct scorecard.

    Has anyone in the history of professional or amateur golf incurred a 4 stroke penalty?

  39. Whether or not we are pro/anti this ruling, this is another black eye for golf. Every time this happens, right or wrong, about 5 million people at their respective water coolers the next day label the situation ludicrous. That’s never good for the game.

  40. Andrew Tursky, at first I was surprised at this article but after giving it a second, I realized this is along with the rest of the “journalism” at this site which is nothing more that a mouthpiece for the manufactures to have their infomercials aired, the elitist to praise each other and for golf governing bodies to sit around and stroke each others egos.. If you wanted to be a REAL writer you would have sided with the 99% who oppose the penalty and analyzed the idiotic ruling made the LPGA, but instead you legitimized these absurd rules.

    • I thought she was a bit sloppy in placing the ball, particularly because she marked from the side of the ball which did not give her a great reference to the line between the marker, ball and hole..but clearly there was no intent to cheat. As a game of honor, the rules need to defend cheating but not so severely penalize a non issue. 4 strokes, absurd, penalty given the next day, absurd… Maybe a one shot penalty assessed the day of the round could be in order for her carelessness ..but nothing more. This was a travesty and I ‘m a bit tired of seeing the rule officials coming out and ruining the competition during the event.

      • yes, if you look at the video replay she marked it from the side b/c of her playing partners ball mark was in near proximity to hers and she would have stepped into her line. Again, no intent to cheat and she did not move the ball closer to the hole or gain any advantage in what she did.

    • You’re way off here man. Real golfers don’t support cheating. She knew damn well what she was doing. Either that or she’s the most careless person I’ve ever seen, which isn’t excusable either. I don’t really think its a great idea that people can call in or that this happened a day later. I wouldn’t allow either if I was running the tour, but that’s not the point. Real golfers aren’t siding with someone who moves their ball closer to the hole.

  41. I don’t dispute that she misplaced the ball but what seems fishy is that no one could have noticed that in real time TV with no slow mo or blown up picture. Somebody had it out for her!

    • Another Golf wanna be giving us his opinion..it is very simple she was caught by an out side agent and it/her/him had NO authority to even mention this. It is sold fact golf is the game everyone calls penalties on themselves…at best her playing partner could say something if she or her caddie (you know the ones playing the game not sitting on their rears drinking a beer thinking they know better) want to question something…NOT A DAY LATER BY AN OUTSIDE AGENT..LPGA needs fans this kind of BS just takes away from their presentation..

  42. Big deal! She moved the ball about 2mm. She was obviously cheating because where she placed the ball was a much easier putt.
    I pity the poor loser who emailed the LPGA, must have been Korean or Swedish! This is a case of way to much involvement from the loser at home. Should have been left to Lexi her playing partner and officials. Lexi obviously was unaware of the “rule breach” as was everyone else except the wanker who emailed. I’m not American so this response is not at all biased.
    I think perhaps the officials should review each drop, each marked putt which will certainly speed up play!
    On an aside I think both the LPGA and PGA should allow only one ball marked on any green, unless playing from mud or bunker

  43. Have not read other comments but the common consensus with those on the course today and from my wife who doesn’t even watch golf is that no fan should be able to call in and report a violation EVER end of story… period. Doesn’t happen in any other sport but golf; no wonder people are turned off from playing. Stupid archaic rule. 2nd no way does she get 4 strokes against her. That determination is just completely mindless. I don’t even like Thompson but that is beside the point. It just furthers the opinion of many that golf is for stuffed shirts.

  44. I don’t see where an advantage was gained by Lexi? It was an honest mistake. And there is no way that you can put your ball back in the exact same spot that you picked it up from. So it was moved a fraction of an inch but no closer to the hole. 4 strokes the day after it happened? She as robbed of a major. No more call ins from fans. If it isn’t observed by a playing partner, rules official or called on your own it isn’t a penalty. If something is “learned” after the fact and its obvious you cheated but weren’t caught, your reputation will forever be tarnished. A penalty far greater than a couple of shots…especially for a professional.

  45. Wow. No.

    First, the game IS referreed. The players, his/her player-competitors, and rules officials are all on hand to do so.

    Second, the priority should be on protecting the field. The field was not in harm here.

    Third, a post-facto review of hi-def video–which is what we saw here–can reveal many things not obvious to the players and others in real time at the course.

    Finally, the round was over and in the books. Half her penalty, however, came from a post-facto imposition of the FIRST half–something she had no control over. If it had been called–either by her or by someone else–during the round–then she would have won the tournament by two strokes. THIS MATTERS.

    I don’t hold Ryu responsible, but it would have been nice to see her concede the first playoff hole and right this obvious wrong. I wouldn’t expect it and I’m not disappointed that she didn’t do it. But it would have been very cool.

    The Tours need to re-consider how they go about policing their events. This was a travesty.

  46. Deserved the penalty or not. This type of call has to be done before the start of the next round. What would have happened if this was called in on Monday? Lexi would have already won by 4, no wait! 4 stroke penalty makes it a tie. Rescind the win, call everyone back from around the globe…. we now have a playoff! Don’t think they would have happened!!!

  47. My problem is, if the LPGA just ignores that email this never a story. If I were in charge, I would have watched that video and simply ignored the advice to give a 4 stroke penalty.

    • with a small breach that didnt make a difference maybe a quiet word with Lexi would have been enough

      But the Rules Official was right,in strict accordance with the rules

    • Well, it tends to target the players in or near the lead, as happened in this case. And in fact, “targeting” the players in the lead is who we ought to be most concerned about in terms of rules questions.

      We don’t want any rules violations, or rules errors, in any portion of a tournament field. But especially not among the leaders.

  48. Sure she deserves a penalty, if officials caught this the day of competition or competitor called it. A viewer call in…i hate this. and no way should penalty strokes be given after next round has started.

  49. Of course she deserved the 2-stroke penalty. She played from the wrong spot. The problem is someone calling/emailing after the fact. Let’s go back and watch film of any tournament. I bet we could retroactively DQ hundreds of players. At the very least, don’t add 2 for signing an incorrect scorecard. It wasn’t “incorrect” until the view emailed. Why do we even really need scorecards, anyway? There are walking scorers.

  50. I wonder what the reaction would be if the roles were reversed and a Korean golfer was the one penalised and Lexi was the eventual winner….be very different I suspect. Fact is she CHEATED there is no way you accidentally put your ball back in the wrong place if you play golf every day of your life. She deserved to lose

    • The reaction would be totally different. No one would be talking about this today. Result would be the same though: 4 shot penalty. She did not cheat. Accidentally broke the rules, but did not cheat. You may be the first person on earth to see her action as cheating.

    • My reaction would not be any different. Calling in the next day is not fair. What if it was Monday and that viewer was watching round 4? I agree with a 2 stroke penalty, but not the second penalty for incorrect score.

    • Cheating indicates a deliberate intent. I don’t think you are a mindreader. She was careless and in a hurry – if it’s called in after all players are off the course and all scores confirmed, it’s over … forget it … done…. call it off. Because it affects the next day’s play if you don’t end it on the day of the round.

  51. Simple… Only the players and caddies in the group can call a penalty and a the rules official assigned to the group. If no official assigned then the one called to help with the disagreement among the players/caddies. The decision has to be made then and there and you live with the results right or wrong. Once everyone is on the next tee -that’s it. No calling the truck for replay or other rules officials. If something is found on review later you can fine or suspend the player. It will speed up the game too. This is pretty much how 95+% of the rulings are handle in none TV tournaments.

  52. My thoughts:
    Eliminate/Prohibit outside callers including emails.
    Put in place Tour officials to oversee all TV coverage of ALL tournaments.
    If an official(s) see’s an issue, review it immediately and address it immediately. Not three holes later, not a day later. The call has to be made by a tour official. Period.
    Time limit of 30 minutes should be sufficient to make a call if needed.
    Eliminates penalty for signing incorrect scorecard.
    It’s time to grow the game in a fair manner.

    • THIS. +1000

      No way someone should be calling or emailing this in. if the LPGA had an official sitting there watching the broadcast they would of caught it right away and not turned this into a fiasco.

  53. First time I saw the video I said to myself…ah she cheated. It was pretty overt she moved the ball to a closer position. Personally I don’t think you should even be able to mark and pick up a ball on the green. I also don’t think you should be able to write on the balls as well with lines and whatever else. It’s certainly not a popular opinion but if you get rid of all of that then there would have been no penalties and pace of play would increase significantly.

    • I also think, that one should only be allowed to mark a ball, if it hinders another player, and the other player wants it to be marked…

      …if mud sticks on the ball, it is the same problem, like a spike mark, or a bad repaired pitch mark.

      The technical problem I see is, was this placement of the ball more inaccurate, than a placement of a ball, that was accidentally moved?

      Sometimes it happens, that a ball comes to rest on a spike mark, or on a bad repaired pitch mark…
      …and that ball, if you try to placed it again within the same spot, just moves a tiny bit from it´s supposed former place – no matter what you try…

      …except, if you flatten the place, where it formerly was, or place it at the nearest point, where it is able to rest – especially in windy conditions…

      …how should one decide in this case?

      Anyway, to give such a information to a player on the next day, and during the new round, influences the true outcome (score) more, than the sloppy placement of the ball, which obviously wasn´t sloppy enough, to be noticed by the other players.

      Intentionally cheating (this way)…
      …is just poor…
      …because sportsmanship gets lost and no real advantage is gained (in this case).

    • definitely sloppy….A good lesson for young people entering competitive golf. she was not hindered from approaching the ball/hole in a straight line (she wouldn’t have been stepping on the other players line or marker. I would absolutely point that out to any student from Jr Golf on up.

      2 Strokes for the score card – the day after it was attested, signed AND CORRECT at the time is completely insane. THAT idiot should be fired. Volunteer or not

    • I’m with you on the marking it from the side thing. I felt bad for her at first, but even after she learned of the penalty, she continued to mark her ball from the side. Maybe that’s just what she does, but I hadn’t noticed it. However, it was weird that she marked it and barely picked her ball up before replacing it. Did it even go past her knee? I think she knew what she was doing.

  54. Well, you know, I am just delighted at the responses as I am the viewer who emailed the LPGA. I don’t actually have a TV so I didn’t actually see a thing, but anyway it’s just soooo good too see how much action I caused from an email I actually just made up. Hehe.

  55. Yes, she deserved to be given a penalty, but by her playing partners or herself at the time of the infraction or before the scorecards are turned in. Once those cards are turned in all of the playing partners have agreed to those scores and they shouldn’t be changed after the round. That’s the way all other major sports work, once the game is over you don’t go back and change the outcome. It’s just stupid the way golf handles this and the game is destroying it’s credibility and losing fans by enforcing rules ex post facto.

  56. 1. Completely Lexi’s own fault; terrible marking/brain fart if it was unintentional.
    2. Players don’t protect the field. If they do, then they’ll have a negative label in the media and with other players. If two players are fighting to win a tournament and one of them call out a rules violation on the other to cause him/herself to win, how is that going to go down in the press and the rest of the players?
    3. This use to a DQ. Now people are crying about two strokes for signing the incorrect scorecard. Check out Greg Norman 1990 Palm Meadows Cup. He DQ’d himself before the third round with a one shot lead for incorrectly dropping in the first round.
    4. You can win big tournaments being a big star and have every single movement on a golf course be televised without incurring penalties. Tiger?

  57. I wish they had given it a better click bait title.

    Like, “You won’t believe what Andrew Tursky thinks about women playing golf! (And it’s not what you think.)”

  58. Why am I the first one to “LOL” this article? It’s funny! Everyone talks at length about why golf is in decline. I mean, 20 articles on this site alone have discussed why the game is losing “regular” players. You wanna know why golf is losing interest? The LPGA (similar to the USGA and it’s buffoons) are so self-unaware it’s comical. They, along with our writer here, haven’t just misjudged a ruling. They’re trying to kill the sport. “After a full review, it was determined that Thompson breached Rule 20-7c, and received a two-stroke penalty under Rule 16-1b. 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.” Breached? 20-7c? Incurred? 16-1b? Are you $&%ing kidding?!?! Your Honor, I object! Why in the world are we making us (AND I MEAN US–I LOVE GOLF TOO!) look like a bunch of pretentious a-holes who’d rather take the word of a dude at home (WHO, BTW, DIDN’T GET AROUND TO WATCHING SATURDAY’S ROUND UNTIL SUNDAY AFTERNOON) than her playing partners who were within feet of her. If it was egregious, they’d have said something. This ruling is what is wrong with golf. If you get excited by words like “breached” and numbers like 20-7c, I hope you do us all a favor and sell your clubs (golfwrx classifieds of course) and take up croquet.

      • If golf keeps this shizz up, we’ll all get to play something else. Let’s just apply golf logic to other sports. Basketball – how many times do NBA players carry the ball? Hundreds of times but the refs let it go because it is painfully minor. Football – I mean, hell, there are dozens of penalties on every play…holding to be specific can be called all the time. Why don’t they let fans email in to make the call?

    • “look like a bunch of pretentious a-holes who’d rather take the word of a dude at home (WHO, BTW, DIDN’T GET AROUND TO WATCHING SATURDAY’S ROUND UNTIL SUNDAY AFTERNOON) than her playing partners ” – Good thing we did otherwise we would not have realized she didn’t put her ball back!!!

      Simply, if she would have placed her ball back in the correct place we would NOT be having this discussion. End of story.

  59. This is exactly where the rules of golf drive people away from the game. Overzealous rules nazis getting bent out of shape for something that made absolutely no difference. Call in referees is just completely ridiculous as well. If tournament officials observing doesn’t see it, it didn’t happen. And one last thing: totally unfair that some players get most of their activity break cast up close in HD but 90% of the field never makes it on the air. Unequal playing conditions in my book.

  60. You are the only one. And this article makes me hate golfwrx. What a pointless “take” on the subject. I guess you got your clicks – and you got me writing a pointless comment that you’ll never read or respond to.

    All of you holier than thou people saying that she deserves a penalty clearly have never played golf or marked your ball. This happens ALL THE TIME. How detailed do we want to get here? Technically it is IMPOSSIBLE to mark your ball, pick it up and put your ball back in the EXACT same spot. So do infractions of less than 1/4″ not count? What’s the reasonable error here? Do we need like…lasers or something on the green to make sure that the ball gets back EXACTLY where it came to a stop? Also remember that the rules don’t allow her to fix spike marks – if her ball is at rest right behind a spike mark what kind of crap is that? What is she supposed to do? She does what any reasonable player does: put it in a spot that gives her a fair chance to make the putt.

    How about we let the players play and let their playing partners call out infractions as they see fit.

    And the LPGA is absolutely up it’s own behind here. Waiting until the next day, in the MIDDLE of the round is absolutely baloney. What integrity does a ruling body have if they basically admit that they are dependent upon outside agencies to catch “rule breakers”? Does no one else see where this could lead? How much money was bet on this event?

    And how is this good for the game? All it does is make golf agencies and golf watchers seem like joyless old farts. Who feels better today because they made this call? How is the integrity of the game preserved?

  61. Yup, she deserved a penalty. A 2 stroke penalty. She didnt knowingly sign an incorrect scorecard because at the time that score wasnt incorrect – she had not been issued a penalty. A 4 stroke penalty in this case is wild.

  62. I am sorry, but what a terrible article. Nobody is saying that she does not deserve a penalty. What she did was against the rules; black-and-white. The outrage is over the LPGA assessing the penalty more than halfway through her next round. Perfect example was last year when Anna Nordqvist “grounded” her club in a fairway bunker during a playoff at the U.S. Open. They assessed the penalty on Anna the following hole, and nobody had an issue with it. This is not a “should she have been penalized or not” argument. The argument is about the amount of time the elapsed between the infraction and the penalty.

    • If they found out today it wouldn’t matter , funny 12 holes later following day OK to change up scores and assess penalty but what about a day after finished tourney, NO GOOD , WHY? Why can’t we all go back and check all of Jacks majors and see if he broke any rules and take a few majors away so Tiger has more because I like Tiger… LOL Clearly the biggest joke is allowing it happen so late. If rules aren’t known to be broken after all players have ended their round that round is thus in the books and can’t be changed…… oh wait that’s just after final round, Why?

  63. I agree that she should have been penalized on Saturday… And I also agree that once the clock struck midnight, the statute of limitations on that penalty should have expired (and that regardless of timing, the 2 strokes for signing an incorrect scorecard is absurd, despite being in accordance with the rules).

    What I don’t agree with, however, is this statement: “By allowing fans to call in about wrongdoings, it increases the odds that every player is playing by the rules.” I would say that “by allowing fans to call in about wrongdoings, it increases the odds that [those players who are shown on TV are] playing by the rules”. Yes, it helps police some of the players, but it doesn’t exactly create a level playing field.

  64. Absolutely she deserved the 2 stroke penalty for playing from wrong place. Although she claims she did it by accident. What she does not deserve, I believe, is the penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. Why have participants even keep a scorecard and turn it in to officials, if they can alter scores some 20+ hours later? She believed the card was correct, her playing partner had to sign saying she also believed the score to be accurate, and a rules official also checked the card and deemed the score to be correct? Penalize her +2 for moving her ball to a new position, fine. But what is the point of signing cards and having them checked thrice if those first three checks basically don’t mean anything and you’re still subject to being penalized when at least 3 people have agreed that your score was correct at the time of signing it?

  65. Penalties should only allowed to be called during the course of play by tournament officials and referees. Like every other damn sport.

    Imagine someone calling into the NFL the day after the Super Bowl to report a holding penalty. And then have the NFL change the outcome of the game! It’s too ridiculous to even fathom yet it’s relatively common in golf’s biggest events.

  66. I don’t think anyone is debating whether or not Lexi deserved a penalty. The single, solitary reason people are so pissed is because of the way it happened and the timing. Had it been called in the moment, or hell, on the same day of competition people would be more understanding.

    The second thing people are outraged over is HOW the infraction was reported…via email from a TV viewer. Players in contention have more of their shots televised and recorded. If someone that was 10 shots back did this, no one would ever know. Uneven standard for those in contention. And who is sitting home watching and thinking: “OH MY GAWD DID YOU SEE THAT!?! SHE DIDN’T PUT HER BALL BACK EXACTLY WHERE SHE PICKED IT UP FROM…I MUST EMAIL THE LPGA. RIGHT. NOW.”

  67. The penalty was deserved and unfortunately it was executed a day late and a few thousand dollars short. It also appears that she normally marks her ball standing to the side, which to me could cause several “miss marks, if you will. As I viewed her markings on previous holes before the penalty was assessed, I bet she has several cases where she moved the ball inadvertently and or intentionally while standing to the side of her putting line. She’s a sweet girl with super talent, but she goofed and
    “Arm Chair Al” caught ‘er in the act. Rules are rules, period. I just hope the arcane rules of golf
    will be adjusted so that “Scores will stand, rules broken or not, when that days play is complete.”

  68. If she was not on the side marking and trying to line up logo then maybe I buy your reasoning but I don’t think she had any idea nor was she trying to gain any competitive advantage in doing so. I challenge you to stand at the side your ball and mark it, then pick up your ball while you are looking at fixing the logo to aid your put and then put it EXACTLY where it was at. In no way was she trying to gain an advantage for any spike mark or BS claim. It is unfair to only scrutinize the players in the lead via video phone in, then you should have video cameras walking with every group scrutinizing every single thing every single golfer does, then and only then would video call in scrutiny be fair and protecting the field. It is things like this that driver people away from the game and they type of people that would sit at home and call in, well let’s just say they are probably the same one that used to monitor the hallways at grade school. What is worse is that they add on an additional penalty for incorrect scorecard. She should have won the event and it is sad that she lost it in the manner that she did.

  69. Perhaps she did deserve a penalty. However, it should have been called by her fellow competitor (s). It is the fields responsibility to protect the field and enforce the rules. If they weren’t paying attention then that’s is on them. It obviously wasn’t an infraction that gained any advantage nor was it done with any intention of gaining an advantage (at least it would appear that way) and no one in her group called a penalty on her. To be able to call a penalty a day and a half after the episode I believe is unacceptable. Plus, and the biggest point I believe, is no one other than the players or the officials should be allowed to call a penalty. These television viewers are trolling at home, watching hi-def, slo-motion replays and then emailing or calling in alleging infractions. That is not fair. What if you are in a group where the TV is not covering you and you commit the same penalty. No one in your group call a penalty. Why is it acceptable and fair for the last group to be scrutinized but not an earlier group? I believe there should be an immediate ruling by all of the tours that states no fan alleging rule violations should be allowed. If the players, their caddies and the officials do not declare a rules violation then there should be no post round (especially next day) ex post facto ruling.

  70. You’re missing the point. If a player/spectator/rules official noticed this Saturday night, then all were fine. The fact that a viewer email the LPGA 1 day later, is the issue. In this case, the rules committee should have given the viewer a middle finger and used it to inform players “watch what you’re doing” and also make the other players and rules member aware to keep eyes open. Also, did the LPGA vet the viewer that he/she does not have an association with another player and was only a case of disliking Lexi? Don’t tell me something similar was don’t by any of the other 120 players over the last 4 days. I see it every round. Players are lax in marking balls.

  71. I really don’t understand why this is an issue. She did not properly replace her ball on the green and consequently putted from the wrong place. The rule is clear that is a two stroke penalty. I don’t think it should matter that her violation was not detected immediately, or that it was detected by a viewer and not a fellow competitor. I for one don’t want the rules to be waived when violated unintentionally, or violated in a way that allows them to get away with it for a while.

  72. I also believe a penalty here is fair and just. I just hate the timing. If the round is over with and there are no questions/concerns as to any penalties, then that round is official and in the books. Under NO circumstance should it be allowed to then penalize someone after the round is over.

    You’ll just get stuff like this happening from time to time and it just sucks. There is no other way to put it.

  73. She deserves a penalty. The problem is it was assessed after said stipulated round was finished and overwith and it was a whole 24 hours later. To me, that’s not acceptable. If the round comes to an end and no one caught it, she should not be able to be penalized. It’s garbage.

  74. You absolutely correct and you are not alone. How or why such a blatant mismarking occurred is but one of the questions, equally relevant is how no one in the group observed the “mistake”, or did they just choose to ignore it?

  75. To me it actually looked like she moved the ball on purpose, perhaps to move it way from a spike mark or something. I think the penalty was well deserved.

    BUT

    Never should someone sitting in front of the TV be able to call in and determine the outcome of a tournament, especially not the day after. The midnight rule seems reasonable to me and only if officials noted the mistake/error.

    • I did find it really odd that she picked the ball straight up, moved it over, and put it straight down. There was no rotation to line it up or anything. The ball was perfectly clean as well. If this was not intentional, the only thing I can thing of is maybe she was actually looking at the hole and was just going through the motions while marking and wasn’t fully paying attention. The outcome was pretty devastating in either case. So-Yeon must feel pretty crappy to win that way as well.

      • Watched it loads. She’s right in sight of the hole. She knew exactly what she was doing. Didn’t turn the ball to align a marking better, didn’t clean it. Picked it up and moved it to get a better line having seen something she didn’t like.

        She cheated.

        The manner in which this was discovered, the time delay etc. all leaves a bad taste in the mouth, but I bet she won’t cheat like this again.

        I wonder if anyone is pouring over previous footage of Lexi to see if she’s done it before.

  76. RACIST?? look up the word snowflake…HooYah Bubba. I don’t think she thought she was ‘cheating’…short putts w/major pressure make hole look smaller (oops misogynist remark) and I believe she was probably lining up printing on the ball. She hould have been square behind it and it wouldn’t have happened. Her fault for being sloppy & inaccurate at a moment where that was inexcusable…2 strokes.

    End of story. 2 strokes for signing an attested and confirmed correct card AFTER the next day penalty – OK…That was racist…

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