June 23, 2018

Golf has finally gotten rid of its most unpopular rule

13 December 2017, 05:08 | Kristopher Drake

Golf To Scrap Viewer Call-Ins On Rules Infringements

USGA and R&A officials just made the fairest change to the Rules of Golf that we can remember

The decision comes after Lexi Thompson was penalized during the final round of the ANA Inspiration after officials declared a penalty for a rules infraction from the previous day that had been called in by a TV viewer, The Kansas City Star said.

"The message is, as a fan, enjoy watching the game and the best players in the world, but also have the confidence that the committee in charge of the competition have the rules handled", Thomas Pagel, the USGA's senior director of the Rules of Golf, said on Golf Channel's "Morning Drive" on Monday.

Thompson had two shots added to her score for mis-marking her ball in the third round of the event in California and a further two shots for signing an incorrect card.

From January 1st, 2018, the tour bodies have chose to assign officials to monitor video broadcasts of a tournament to help identify and resolve rules issues as they arise; and to discontinue any steps to "facilitate or consider viewer call-ins" as any part of the rules decision process. Thompson rallied, but eventually lost to So Yeon Ryu in the first hole of a playoff. In changing the rule to be more lenient, officials acknowledged a DQ was a punishment that didn't fit the crime.

A working group led by the USGA and The R&A has unanimously agreed to adopt a new set of protocols for video review when applying the Rules of Golf.

The USGA and R&A have also approved the adoption of a local rule that eliminates the additional 2-stroke penalty for failing to include a penalty on the scorecard when the player was unaware of the infraction.

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Come 2019, when the modernized Rules of Golf are scheduled to go into effect, the scorecard penalty will be dropped altogether.

The PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, European PGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and the PGA of America are on board with the decision.

Although the Rules of Golf modernization is still a year away, officials continue to refine parts of the rulebook including an overhaul of the video review protocols. "In my case, I am thankful that no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future".

Further, the local rule, which becomes available from January 1, 2018, eliminates the additional two-stroke penalty applied to players for failing to include a penalty on the score card when the player was unaware of the penalty.

Only video obtained from the official broadcast coverage will be considered for rules infringements, with any picture from an individual's smartphone or camera being disregarded.

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