April 21, 2018

Golf fans can no longer call in rule breaches

13 December 2017, 05:06 | Donald Newman

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

Because of the unpopularity around the PGA and LPGA tours, the USGA relaxed the rule to only be enforced on plays that could be discovered only through deep video investigation.

Instead, the U.S. Golf Association, R&A and members of the PGA Tour have agreed to introduce at least one official who will monitor all major televised tournaments and check for rules infringements. Not surprisingly, Lexi Thompson is delighted by the new policy announced Monday by the USGA and the R&A, golf's main governing bodies, which also ruled that players will no longer will be penalized two shots for signing an incorrect scorecard if they were not aware of a rules violation at the time. So for example, if you see that a golfer grounded his club in a sand trap but no rules official caught it at the event, you could call in, report the infraction, and then the USGA would review the play and possibly assess a penalty. After a fan called in for apparently seeing Thompson place her ball in a different spot than her marker in Round 3, Thompson was docked two strokes for that infraction and two more for signing an incorrect Round 3 scorecard while playing the final round.

"A lot of the stuff that people are looking to call penalties on from home - a good majority of those penalties go away with the rules modernization code", he said, according to Golf Week.

This rule was extremely hated by players in all of the major golf tournaments as they felt that it was unfair given that not all players receive equal broadcast coverage, therefore making the more visible players far more apt to be slapped with a rules violation. Thompson rallied, but eventually lost to So Yeon Ryu in the first hole of a playoff.

The new protocols also recognize the importance of limiting video review to material obtained from the committee's broadcast partner.

These latest moves follow a decision earlier this year, in April, to limit the use of video through the introduction of a "reasonable judgement" standard and a "naked eye" standard.

"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". Enjoy watching the world's best players. These officials could still assess penalties for violations they spot on coverage if they deem the player had knowledge of the rule they were violating and committed the violation on objective, disregarding the rules.

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