7 Times TV Viewers Influenced Golf Tournaments

After the R&A and USGA changed the rules on TV viewers phoning in, here are seven previous examples...

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With today's announcement from the R&A on TV viewers influencing rules decisions, here are seven examples we've seen down the years...

7 Times TV Viewers Influenced Golf Tournaments

Golf's governing bodies - the R&A and USGA - today announced a huge change to the rules of golf concerning professional tournaments that are broadcast on TV.

No longer will viewers at home be able to pause their TVs, rewind, zoom in and phone up the tournament officials to get players penalised.

Golf to scrap viewer call-ins on rules infringements

It's happened numerous times in the past and at this year's ANA Inspiration, the first women's major of the year, Lexi Thompson lost out on four strokes, and her second major championship, after a viewer at home called in.

This will no longer be allowed in 2018.

Additional two-stroke penalties for failing to include a penalty on the scorecard when the player was unaware of the penalty have now also been eliminated.

Here are 7 times that TV viewers influenced golf tournaments:

Lexi Thompson - 2017 ANA Inspiration


Where else to start than with Lexi? The American was two clear with six holes to play in the ANA Inspiration final round before she was penalised four strokes for not replacing her ball exactly where she marked it on the 17th green the day before. She was penalised two strokes for this, and then a further two for signing an incorrect scorecard. She fought back to make it into a playoff but eventually lost out. It was one of 2017's biggest stories in the world of golf.

Padraig Harrington - 2011 Abu Dhabi Championship


The Irishman was caught out after TV viewer emailed in at the 2011 Abu Dhabi Championship and ultimately got Harrington disqualified. Harrington brushed his ball as he removed his marker on the green and was given a two-stroke penalty. However, he had already signed his card so was DQ'd for signing for a wrong score.

Camillo Villegas - 2011 Tournament of Champions


At the 2011 Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, Camillo Villegas was caught out by a TV viewer and ultimately DQ'd for signing for an incorrect score. He chipped his ball up to a green, brushed some grass away and the ball the rolled back down the hill to where he hit from. Because he moved the grass, he had violated Rule 23-1 that says, “When a ball is in motion, a loose impediment that might influence the movement of the ball must not be removed.”

Juli Inkster - 2010 Safeway Classic

At the 2010 Safeway Classic, Juli Inkster found herself three off the lead and waiting on the 10th tee for around half an hour. She put a donut weight on her 9-iron and began some swings to loosen up. A TV viewer got in contact with the LPGA Tour and Inkster was disqualified for using a training aid in play. Afterwards she said, "I had a 30-minute wait and I needed to loosen up. It had no effect on my game whatsoever, but it is what it is. I'm very disappointed."

Tiger Woods - 2013 Masters


Woods received a two-stroke penalty at the 2013 Masters for taking an illegal drop, which was spotted by a TV viewer. The 14-time major winner hit the flag with a wedge on the 15th hole and the ball ended up in the water. He dropped another ball two yards further back and was ultimately caught out after the round when the viewer phoned in. In the end he finished just four back of the playoff between Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera...what if!

Craig Stadler - 1987 Andy Williams Open

The Walrus came third at the 1987 Andy Williams Open but was DQ'd for a rules infringement during the third round. Stadler found a tricky position and put a towel down to kneel on as he played his shot so his trousers didn't get wet. He was DQ'd after the final round and lost out on $37,333.33.

Paul Azinger - 1991 Doral Ryder Open 

At the 1991 Doral Open, Paul Azinger was DQ'd in round 2 after TV viewer noticed a rules infraction from the previous day. He moved a rock when taking his stance in a water hazard and was handed a two-stroke penalty...but had already signed his scorecard. You guessed it, DQ'd for signing for the wrong score.

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Elliott Heath
Elliott Heath

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. Elliott graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He is obsessed with the game and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey. His handicap index floats between 3-5. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Honma TR20B

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x