The R&A and The USGA have implemented a new Decision on the Rules of Golf regarding video reviews after Lexi Thompson was penalised four strokes from a TV viewer calling in


Video Reviews In Golf Limited With Immediate Effect

The R&A and USGA have issued a new Decision on the Rules of Golf to limit the use of video evidence in the game, with immediate effect.

The new Decision 34-3/10 allows two new ways for Rules committees to limit the use of video. They are:

  1. When video reveals evidence that could not reasonably be seen with the “naked eye,”
  2. When players use their “reasonable judgment” to determine a specific location when applying the rules

It’s after Lexi Thompson was penalised four strokes in the recent ANA Inspiration midway through her final round when a TV viewer contacted the LPGA to inform them that the 22-year-old hadn’t correctly replaced her ball on the putting green in the previous round.

Lexi was two clear at the time when she was handed the four shot penalty on the 12th hole, and eventually lost in a playoff.

The R&A and USGA say they have formed a working group of LPGA, PGA Tour, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America representatives to immediately begin a comprehensive review of broader video issues, including viewer call-ins, which arise in televised competitions.

The first standard applies to examples such as when a player unknowingly touches a few grains of sand in a bunker and it cannot be seen by the naked eye but only on a TV replay.

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The player will not be deemed to have breached the Rules, even if it can be seen that they have on a video replay. This is an extension of the provision on ball-at-rest-moved cases, which was introduced in 2014.

The second standard relates to the Lexi Thompson situation, where a player determines a ‘spot, point, position, line, area, distance or other location’ in applying the rules and recognises that the player should not be held to the degree of precision that can only be picked up using video technology.

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So long as the player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be inaccurate by the use of video evidence.

The R&A and The USGA have decided to bring these rulings in immediately because ‘of the many difficult issues arising from video review in televised golf’.

They say ‘the standards in the Decision do not change any of the current requirements in the Rules, as the player must still act with care, report all known breaches of the Rules and try to do what is reasonably expected in making an accurate determination when applying the Rules.

Related: Golf Monthly Rules homepage

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “We have been considering the impact of video review on the game and feel it is important to introduce a Decision to give greater clarity in this area. Golf has always been a game of integrity and we want to ensure that the emphasis remains as much as possible on the reasonable judgment of the player rather than on what video technology can show.”

The USGA and The R&A will consider additional modifications recommended by the working group for implementation in advance of Jan. 1, 2019, when the new code resulting from the collaborative work to modernise golf’s Rules takes effect.