USGA announce rule change in wake of Lexi Thompson incident

The Royal and Ancient have also adopted the change

BY Simon Maguire 17:56 Wednesday 26 April 2017, 17:56 26 Apr 2017

Lexi Thompson. Picture by: USA TODAY Network/SIPA USA/PA Images

The United States Golf Association (USGA) and the Royal and Ancient (R&A) have introduced two new rules after the Lexi Thompson fiasco earlier this month.

Thompson was penalised four strokes in the final round of the ANA Inspiration tournament in Rancho Mirage, California after a viewer complained to officials about her ball placement on a green the previous day.

The American was notified midway through her final round at the first major of the year where she eventually lost in a play-off against So Yeon Ryu.

So Yeon Ryu hugs Lexi Thompson. Image: USA TODAY Network/SIPA USA/PA Images

The decision led to a public outcry from both fans and players alike and golf officials have responded with two new interpretations which will limit the use of video technology during rounds.

The two new standards are as follows to limit the use of video: 1) when video reveals evidence that could not reasonably be seen with the “naked eye,” and 2) when players use their “reasonable judgment” to determine a specific location when applying the Rules.  

Speaking at the announcement, USGA Executive Director/CEO Mike Davis said: “This important first step provides officials with tools that can have a direct and positive impact on the game. We recognize there is more work to be done.

"Advancements in video technology are enhancing the viewing experience for fans, but can also significantly affect the competition. We need to balance those advances with what is fair for all players when applying the Rules.”

His sentiments were echoed by Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, who 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."

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