14 Dec 2017

Rule Change: Professional Golf Tours and Governing Bodies remove “viewer referees”

Golf’s governing bodies – in cooperation with all the leading professional Tours across the men’s and women’s game – will implement a new protocol set to begin on January 1st which will block fans from “calling in” any potential rules violations they see during an event’s broadcast.

As part of the new rule, one or more official will be assigned to monitor video broadcasts of a competition to help identify rules issues.

Lexi Thompson was the most high-profile victim of such an occurrence as she suffered a retrospective four stroke penalty to miss out at the ANA Inspiration earlier this year.

Wrong spot

The American was penalised after replacing her ball in the wrong spot before making a short putt late on in the third round. A TV viewer spotted the offence and contacted the officials on site to let them know.

The following day – during the final round of the Major championship – she was told that there would be two strokes added for the offence and a further two stroke penalty for her signing the wrong score on her third round scorecard.

She was leading by two when told of the penalty and gritted it out to force a play-off with Ryu So-Yeon which she subsequently lost. Since then it’s been a hot topic and the ruling bodies of the game have acted quickly to put an end to accepting calls from outsiders about possible rule infringements.

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