Golf To Scrap Viewer Call-Ins On Rules Infringements

Golf's governing bodies have responded to the Lexi Thompson debacle in April

Golf To Scrap Viewer Call-Ins On Rules Infringements Lexi Thompson rules penalty Video Reviews In Golf

Golf's governing bodies have responded to the Lexi Thompson debacle in April

Golf To Scrap Viewer Call-Ins On Rules Infringements

A working group led by The R&A and the USGA has unanimously agreed to adopt a new set of protocols for video review set to come into play from 1st January 2018.

The working group is made up of the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, European Tour, LET and The PGA of America, the R&A and USGA.

The changes will see:

- One or more rules official to monitor the video broadcast of a tournament to help identify and resolve Rules issues as they arise

- Viewer call-ins will no longer be considered as part of the Rules decision process

Today's announcement takes you back to the ANA Inspiration in April and the Lexi Thompson debacle where she was given a four-stroke penalty mid-round due to an infringement on the previous day after a viewer called in.

She was penalised two strokes for not replacing her ball exactly where she marked it (this rules has now been altered) and then penalised two more strokes for signing for the wrong scorecard, even though she didn't know she had a penalty until the next day.

Lexi Thompson

Lexi Thompson distraught after her play-off loss in the ANA Inspiration

Lexi was leading the first women's major of the season during the final round and eventually lost out in a playoff.

The R&A and USGA have clearly taken that into account with this new local rule:

Available from 1 January, additional two-stroke penalties for failing to include a penalty on the scorecard when the player was unaware of the penalty have now been eliminated.

Golf Monthly Rules Homepage

All of the organisations represented on the working group will introduce the Local Rule for 2018 and this scorecard penalty will be permanently removed when the modernised Rules of Golf take effect on 1 January 2019.

The R&A and the USGA acted fast after Lexi Thompson's penalty by establishing the new video review working group in April.

The group was formed to look at the role video footage can play when applying the Rules, including the issues that arise from viewer call-ins. 

David Rickman, Executive Director – Governance at The R&A, said, “This has clearly become an important issue in the sport that we felt we should address at this stage ahead of the implementation of the updated Rules of Golf in 2019.

Proposed changes to the Rules of Golf for 2019

“We have concluded that whilst players should continue to be penalised for all breaches of the Rules during a competition, including any that come to light after the scorecard is returned, an additional penalty for the scorecard error is not required.”

“The level of collaboration with our partners has been both vital and gratifying as we look to the future,” said Thomas Pagel, USGA senior director of the Rules of Golf and Amateur Status.

“As technology has continued to evolve, it has allowed us to evolve how we operate, as well.”

In addition, the new protocols will be limited to footage from only the broadcaster and not footage taken from phones and cameras from members of the crowd.

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Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x