Monday, 3 April 2017

Lexi Thompson Penalised Four Strokes

Another déjà vu Rules experience. Following a communication from a TV viewer, the Rules officials at the LPGA ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills, had little option other than to apply penalties under Rule 20-7c and Rule 6-6d to the clear breach by the tournament leader, Lexi Thompson. I appreciate that many of my readers will not agree with this opening statement, so I am going to expand on it. If you are not already familiar with the detail of this latest Rules incident to blight a major golf tournament, I recommend that you click on this link to view what happened and then read the official statement from the LPGA.

LPGA Statement Regarding Lexi Thompson Penalty
On Sunday afternoon, the LPGA received an email from a television viewer, saying that Lexi Thompson did not properly replace her ball prior to putting out on the 17th hole during Saturday’s third round of the ANA Inspiration. The claim was quickly investigated by LPGA Rules officials.

After a full review, it was determined that Thompson breached Rule 20-7c (Playing From Wrong Place), and received a two-stroke penalty under Rule 16-1b. She incurred an additional two-stroke penalty under Rule 6-6d for returning an incorrect scorecard in round three. She was immediately notified of the breach by LPGA Rules Committee in between holes 12 and 13 of the final round.


This addresses the confusion that some golfers have, as to why Lexi’s penalty was four strokes and not two. Here is the wording of the Exception to Rule 6-6d;

Exception: If a competitor returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken due to failure to include one or more penalty strokes that, before returning his score card, he did not know he had incurred, he is not disqualified. In such circumstances, the competitor incurs the penalty prescribed by the applicable Rule and an additional penalty of two strokes for each hole at which the competitor has committed a breach of Rule 6-6d. This Exception does not apply when the applicable penalty is disqualification from the competition.


Note that if the same Rules infraction had occurred prior to 1st January 2016, when this exception was introduced, Lexi would have been disqualified and would not have collected her second place prize money of $250,591.00.

I have a number of points to make regarding this incident and for ease I am going to do so in a bullet point format.


•    As Lee Westwood tweeted, “You know all this rules confusion could have been averted if Lexi just mastered the art of marking and replacing the ball in the same spot.”
•    There is no question that the ball was not replaced at the spot from which it was lifted, as required by Rule 20-3a. Lexi was given the opportunity to view the incident on video after her round and admitted that she had unintentionally breached this Rule.
•    All professional golfers know that the ball has to be replaced accurately, or a penalty is incurred. For example, they know that if they lift their ball that has come to rest in a dent in the putting surface, such as an aeration hole, they must replace the ball in that dent (unless there is a Local Rule that offers relief). If some latitude was introduced to this Rule, e.g. replace within 1cm (4/10ths inch), it would unnecessarily complicate the Rule and would not stop witnesses from claiming that a player had placed just outside this prescribed limit. For this reason there is no latitude built into the Rule.
•    Lexi says that she was not aware that she had replaced her ball at a different spot and no-one seems to be disputing this. But from a Rules perspective the video evidence is uncertain. She appears to be about to make the short, two-foot putt when she sees something; unusually she then marks the ball to the side; lifts the ball and does not clean it; then twists it, without apparently lining up any of the markings to the hole, as she places it in front of her ball-marker. How is an official meant to accurately determine whether this was an unconscious mistake not deserving of a penalty, or a deliberate act of cheating that certainly does?
•    If the officials notify a player of a penalty incurred as soon as they have made their ruling and it occurs during a round they are criticised, but if they wait until the end of the round before passing on the bad news they are also criticised! There is no easy answer as to when the player and the other competitors should be notified.
•    Rules officials do not solicit calls or emails from third-parties, but once they are aware of a suspected breach, they have a duty to the other competitors to follow-up and enforce the Rules. This equally applies to Club and Society competitions. If a Committee turns a blind eye to any reported breach, even if it has no apparent effect on the player’s score, they will find that the next time any Rules incident occurs the player involved will demand the same preferential treatment, because a precedent has been set.
•    Most of the criticism surrounding this incident has been directed towards the person who emailed the LPGA to make them aware of the breach. However, there is another side to this. If the email had not been received during the competition it is probable that Lexi would have won the tournament. Supposing that subsequently someone put the video on-line, highlighting her incorrect replacement and speculating that it had been done purposely. At best this would have put an asterisk (*) against her name as winner and it is very possible that the ‘evidence’ could then have gone viral, bringing it to the attention of a much wider and less forgiving audience. If you don’t believe that this can happen try Googling, “Montgomerie replaced ball in wrong spot” (2005), or “Mark O’Meara admits to misplacing” (1997). These incidents are still being remembered in a negative manner against the players involved, over a decade later.
•    Golf’s reputation is admirably different from almost every other sport, largely due to the integrity of players at all levels, who almost universally abide by a unified set of evolving Rules that are strictly applied, without favour.
•    Finally, the proposed Rules changes for 2019 have this ‘reasonable judgment’ clause that might have absolved Lexi had it been in place today; “So long as you do all that can be reasonably expected of you under the circumstances to make an accurate estimation or measurement, your reasonable judgment will be accepted even if later shown to be wrong by other information (such as video technology).”

There is no doubt in my mind that Lexi Thompson has come out of this situation as a stronger athlete with a larger fan base. She handled an extraordinarily emotional situation with amazing dignity and class, even staying on after she knew that the incident had lost her the tournament win, to sign autographs and have pictures taken with her fans. I am pleased to leave the last word to her, copied from her official Instagram account;

“Well it was an emotional day here for me, first off I do want to say what I had done was 100% not intentional at all I didn't realize I had done that. I want to say thank you to all the sponsors, volunteers and Mission Hills for making this week possible at the @anainspiration! Also to the fans out there, words can't describe what you being there for me, meant to me. You helped me push thru those last holes so thank you for always believing in me. A big thanks to my caddy as well for always staying positive and being there for me when it got tough. I played some great golf so definitely a lot of positives to take from the week. Time for a very needed 3 weeks off now. Thank you everybody ❤”


Good golfing,



 

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41 comments:

Erik J. Barzeski said...

I disagree that the Proposed Rules for 2019 would have absolved Lexi.

I do not think that she did "all that is reasonably expected." If you mark the ball to the side of the coin, you put the ball back to the side of the coin, not an inch away.

I believe the proposed rule has more to do with determining where to drop when your ball goes into a penalty area or something.

You're welcome to join us in the discussion here, Barry.

slimpants said...

Terrific take as usual, Barry.
The uproar here in the USA is focused on the "guy at home eating Cheetos" who emailed in the infraction. As opposed to Lexi's obvious breach itself.

How quickly we/they forget about Anna Nordqvist getting screwed by the video truck technician at last year's US Open (during a playoff!!) for moving a couple miniscule grains of sand in a bunker. The human eye couldn't even possibly detect that movement; it was only until the technician decided on his own (for whatever reason) to super-zoom in on the replay.
http://www.barryrhodes.com/2016/07/july-miscellany.html

“... could have been averted if Lexi just mastered the art of marking and replacing the ball in the same spot.”

Exactly !!

Barry Rhodes said...

Erik,

I understand your point, but I am certain that no penalty would have been retrospectively applied in this particular instance under the proposed 'modernised' Rules. Lexi Thompson informed the Rules officials that what she did was 100% not intentional, so her 'reasonable judgement', which was only called into question the following day by a single TV viewer, would have been accepted.

Not that it affects the ruling, but the distance where the ball was wrongly placed was substantially less than one inch from where it was lifted.

Barry

Erik J. Barzeski said...

I'm relatively certain she'd still have been penalized under the 2019 proposed rule.

The fact that a "single" person saw it is irrelevant. They have the video to review it. She picked the ball up and put it at least 0.7" away from where it was. That's not the standard they will use when she only lifted the ball a few inches.

The new rule applies to players who are estimating or measuring. She's not estimating or measuring anything - she's replacing a ball that she's marked pretty precisely. Being off by nearly half a ball's width is not "reasonable."

"So long as the player does all that can be reasonably expected under the circumstances to make an accurate estimation or measurement, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted even if later shown to be wrong by other information (such as video technology)."

Also, it's not "substantially less" than one inch. It's at least 0.7" and that's just in two dimensions: https://cl.ly/1w2u1L1i3n2W.

Dagbone said...

In addition to the "reasonable judgment" standard, the rules modernization effort may extend an additional avenue of relief. The proposed definition of the term "Move" includes the phrase "can be seen by the naked eye". I will be curious to see if this standard will be applied to other areas of concern beyond the term "Move".

If this standard were applied to this circumstance, I'm not sure we'd be having this discussion. The full aspect ratio video was inconclusive to me--it only became conclusive when the action was isolated and zoomed into. (In fact, I'm not sure how a viewer could have even spotted a possible infraction at the normal zoom level--that person must have eagle eyes!) If the Rules officials were restricted to viewing only a non-zoomed, "naked eye" type of video footage, they may have had additional justification for electing not to apply a penalty.

David Stevens said...

In my view the penalty of two strokes, while unfortunate, was probably all that the rules officials could do as the ball was clearly not replaced properly, even though unintentionally apparently. The 2019 rules would probably allow the rules officials to deem that this misplacement was unintentional and therefore not penalisable. They should bring in this rule now!

Because the leaders are always on TV more than other competitors, there is a greater chance of an inadvertent mistake by them being picked up than other players. How do we know that the eventual winner didn't do something similar? Again completely inadvertently as I am not suggesting she would do anything deliberate.

However, I cannot follow the logic of the further two stroke penalty of signing an incorrect scorecard - at the time the player had no knowledge of a penalty, and it was not drawn to her attention before she signed her card, which she signed correctly for the shots taken in that round. So how the R&A/USGA can apply the penalty after the round has been completed and then "backdate" a further supposed incorrect scorecard infraction is beyond me!!

Barry Rhodes said...

David,

In my opinion, the logic may be that players are expected to know the Rules (Rule 6-1). If there was no penalty for returning a score card that did not include a penalty that the player did not know had been incurred there would be no incentive to learn them. Until January 2016 this breach incurred the penalty of disqualification. Now it is the penalty plus two additional strokes. Remember that this applies to every breach of a Rule, not just incorrectly placing a ball.

Barry

David Stevens said...

Thank you Barry. I understand what you are saying. This essentially relates to professional golf, as there are few occasions otherwise where a player completes a round and subsequently finds that a penalty is applied? If there is an area of uncertainty between a player and his playing partners (or even a spectator) during a round, surely a ruling would be sought either on the spot or at worst at the end of the round before the card is signed : thus incorporating any penalty for an on-course rules infraction, but avoiding the retrospective further penalty for a wrong scorecard? It seems to be only, or almost only, in televised events that these situations arise.

Erik J. Barzeski said...

I posted a comment but it has not appeared, though others have been approved and posted.

I do not think the proposed 2019 rules would have absolved Lexi of playing from a wrong place. She was not estimating or measuring anything. That rule is more about where a ball crosses the margin of a penalty area, and exists so play can move on without having to wait to gather all evidence.

If you place a coin with the ball at the 9 o'clock position and then replace the ball at the 12 o'clock position… that's not making a "reasonable" effort.

The 2019 proposed rule(s) would not have excused Lexi's actions here, IMO.

Robert Anderson said...

Hi Barry from Wollongong, Australia!
I find the rule causing that second penalty for an incorrect scorecard ridiculous, whether it was DQ or is 2-shots, and that something has to change here. Lexi clearly knew this rule, but was unaware of her breach. The evidence of a breach did not even exist when she HAD TO sign for her score. If a player must sign for their score at the end of each round, the officials should have to finalise that score at the end of that round. If not, and the officials only confirm scores at the end of the tournament, then the player should be able to attest their scores similarly, at the end of the tournament. The current situation is inherently unjust and unfair! My preference? In major tournaments, the officials only are responsible for all scoring - there are already official scorers with every group for every round.
Kind regards - Robert Anderson

slimpants said...

Excellent point, Barry.
With the new non-DQ action and proposed "reasonable judgment", we're going to see more players feigning ignorance when confronted with their breaches.

I've played for 20+ years with a large group once a week and I see even Scratch golfers who still insist on taking egregious lateral hazard drops. When I repeatedly have to explain the rule to them, they "pretend" that they don't know the rule as they go about dropping on the fairway e.g. "But the ball flight was a hook, so..." when they KNOW they're allowed only two club-lengths from where the ball LAST crossed the margin of the hazard. Are they cheating, or are they simply dense ??

My guess is Lexi (and most every other Pro) will henceforth refrain from cavalierly marking a ball side-saddle, certainly when in contention. It takes less than ten seconds to mark or replace a ball correctly. And it's not a difficult task.

Don't blame the Rules or the person who pointed out the infraction. Protect the field.

Barry Rhodes said...

David,

I am aware of several situations where Club players do not realise that they incurred a penalty during their round until recounting the circumstances while taking refreshments after returning their card. If the result has been announced, no penalty (with a few exceptions, see Rule 34-1b), but if it has not, the relevant penalty plus two additional penalty strokes are applied. If you ever sit on a Club Competitions Committee you will find that these occurrences are not that infrequent.

Barry

Barry Rhodes said...

Erik,

My apologies, I am not sure how I 'lost' your first comment, but it is posted now.

I understand your point that Lexi would still have incurred a penalty under the proposed new Rules for 2019. However, I am pretty sure that tournament Rules Officials will be less likely to review video evidence after the event, if and when they do become effective.

Barry

Barry Rhodes said...

Robert,

I am aware that your view of the Lexi penalty is widely shared, but I do not agree. The Rules of Golf have to cover situations where; a) players do not know a Rule, b) players unknowingly breach a Rule, and c) players who know the Rule but decide not to abide by it (cheat!). It is not easy to cover those three situations unless the wording of the Rule is precise and penalties are applied consistently. None of us can be absolutely sure of Lexi's intent, but it does not matter, because the same ruling and penalty applies whatever her intent.

You are wrong when you say, "In major tournaments, the officials only are responsible for all scoring". In every round of competitive golf the player and their marker are responsible for attesting the score for every hole played, including any penalties incurred. It is no different in Pro tournaments.

Barry

Barry Rhodes said...

Slimpants,

"Don't blame the Rules or the person who pointed out the infraction. Protect the field."

Hear hear!

Barry

Rocko said...

While the ruling was certainly correct given the current state of the Rules, the game of golf takes yet another step toward irrelevance with last weekend's events.

Unless each and every action by each and every player is videotaped and broadcast for crowd-sourced public review, the leaders of a tournament are held to a different standard then those just struggling to make the cut and a paycheck. Tiger's drop at the Masters a few years back & last year's Women's Open are just two of many examples. And while video reply is pervasive in sports, only in golf is it allowed for assessing penalties. And only in golf is your result subject to modification after-the-fact based on the input of someone who has nothing at all to do with the competition.

The general public once again sees golf through the lens of closed-minded officials and overly complex rules. Its no wonder interest in the game is dying and courses are closing. Rather than defend & explain the ruling, I wish you had taken the chance to emphasize that this has to change if we are going to keep golf relevant for the next generation of players & fans.

Barry Rhodes said...

Rocko,

You are entitled to your strong opinions on the Lexi Rules incident, which I am aware are shared by many golfers. However, you are factually wrong when you say that interest in the game is dying. I see that you are commenting from the USA where, according to World Golf Foundation CEO Steve Mona, golf’s popularity appears to be on the upswing again with about 2.2 million new golfers taking up the game last year. Spectator numbers and television viewership are also up and participation in the PGA Junior League Golf, team format for boys and girls 13 and under has increased 233 percent since 2013. Add to this the boom in golf in many developing countries and it is clear that the game is in good health. I accept that there are golf course closures, particularly where they are located in valuable real estate locations, but these are now being outnumbered by newly developed courses.

None of us like players being penalised as a result of someone viewing a Rules breach on TV and calling in, but what has been seen cannot be unseen and in my opinion, a Rules official that has been advised of a breach should not choose to ignore it while the tournament is still in progress, because they have a responsibility to the other competitors in the field. With regard to Rules, golf cannot be compared to most other sports in that players are responsible for reporting their own breaches/fouls and if they do not, it is up to a fellow competitor to bring it to their attention, either direcly or through an official. That is one of the many reasons why golf is such a wonderful game, played in all climates throughout the world, by over 60 million people of all ages and abilities. One positive result of this and other similar high-profile Rules infractions is that they have been brought to the attention of a wide golfing public; I am sure that most players who have heard about the Lexi incident will be very careful marking their balls this weekend!

Barry

James said...

Barry,
Normally, I am a big fan, but you and most of the comments here totally miss the point. The point is not whether she misplaced the ball or not, it's whether some idiot at home can call in or email a tournament to report an infraction and have the governing body of that sport feel obligated to review their challenge. No other sport in the world operates this way. Imagine if a viewer could call in during game 4 of the World Series to challenge an umpires strike call in game 3! Would they feel obligated to review the strike call and then remove a run from the team? Give me a break! Furthermore, this isn't a rule in the rules of golf, it is simply how the governing body chooses to enforce its rules and is one of the stupidest thing I have ever seen.

Barry Rhodes said...

David,

I certainly have not "missed the point", which I regularly hear from the golfing masses every time it happens. I have explained my positiun in this blog and others, which is that whilst I do not support those that try and do the Rules officials job for them from their armchairs, I do support the principle that breaches of the Rules have to be penalised after they have come to light during a competition. Once seen a Rules breach cannot be unseen, and has to be penalised by officials fulfilling their responsibility to the other competitors. Also, in my opinion, players who have been shown to have committed a breach are better off taking the penalty for it rather than being branded by 'getting away with it'.

There are many reasons why upholding the Rules of golf cannot be compared with baseball, or several other sports, in which professional fouls have become part of the game.

Barry

Robert Anderson said...

Hi Barry,
Just a comment:
I still feel very uneasy about someone ringing/emailing/texting about an incident, when no-one knows who they are, or what their motives are. Everyone seems to be assuming that this is a golf fan, but this may not be the case. I understand that the penalty is assessed by golf rules officials, not the anonymous emailer, but I believe there is a risk that the emailer could manipulate the officials and the result for the emailer's own benefit.
Consider this possible scenario: Aware that only a few players are in contention coming into the last round, a gambler carefully replays video of their first three rounds in high-def, slo-mo zoom and finds an infraction by the final day leader. He bets heavily on the other contender(s) at better odds, before calling in the infraction to officials midway through the final round. The leader is duly penalised 4 strokes and he collects big money on his winning bet. He legally manipulated the result for money! [I am not saying this did happen with the ANA, but I believe it is possible, or could happen in the future]
This is one reason why I support rule changes for (a) no outside notifications of possible rule breaches, and (b) officials declaring scores final at the end of each round.
Warm Regards - Rob Anderson

Rocko said...

If what has been seen "cannot be unseen" then I expect you are opposed to Decision 18/4, the naked eye test, which absolves golfers for breeches which can only be found through advanced technology?

There are many examples in the rules which hold a player harmless even when a strict interpretation of the facts would suggest a penalty. And of course there is a time limit to all this, as once a competition is closed then only wilful violations of the rules are subject to action. It is not as cut-and-dry as you would suggest it.

There is, of course, and easy solution. Treat the signing of a card in a multi-round, multi-day tournament as equivalent to the close of competition, and only consider breeches which meet the higher standard of (a) the player was aware of the breech (b) the player failed to include the breech in their score.

Barry Rhodes said...

Rob,

Once again, I do understand your argument, but I do not agree with your solution. It could result in a player winning a competition when everyone was aware that they should have been penalised for a breach that was reported by 100+ viewers, which the officials were forced to ignore. What has been seen by officials during a competition cannot be unseen, etc.

Barry

Barry Rhodes said...

Rocko,

I fully support Decision 18/4. However, that was not relevant to the Lexi incident, where she admits to marking her ball to the side and replacing it in front. It did not require advanced technology to reveal this breach of Rule.

I am confused by your statement; "There are many examples in the rules which hold a player harmless even when a strict interpretation of the facts would suggest a penalty." If the facts support a penalty then officials should impose a penalty; their responsibility for doing so is to protect the rights of every other competitor in the field.

In my opinion, your suggestion that in a multi-round competition penalties should not be applied the following day if (b) the player failed to include the breach in their score. is not feasible. For example, a player takes relief within two club-lengths of where their ball last crossed the margin when the hazard was marked with yellow stakes, and does not realise this was wrong until they are discussing their round afterwards in the club-house (remember the Rules of Golf apply to every competitive round of golf played, not just tournament golf).

The Rules of Golf are far from perfect, but over the past 10 years I have realised how difficult it is to make them 'fairer' without running into unforseen consequences.

Barry

Erik J. Barzeski said...

Robert,

I too do not care what the motives of the "caller" or "emailer" are. I don't assume them to be pure, I simply don't care.

They can't make things up. If the player breached the rules, they breached the rules and should be penalized.

Whether the caller/emailer benefits is irrelevant to me. The integrity of the competition matters first and foremost.

Rocko said...

I don't know how you call fully support Decision 18/4 and still maintain "What has been seen by officials during a competition cannot be unseen, etc." -- either the breech occurred or it didn't.

Hopefully the promised rule changes in 2019 will address this. Until it does it's my opinion and observation based on numerous discussions with both golfers and non-golfers that situations like this will continue to undermine the game and efforts to grow it.

Robert Anderson said...

Hi Barry,
There is a time limit to penalise players anyway - the end of the tournament. If this emailer had notified on the Monday there would be no penalty, and Lexi would be the winner with a very different debate about penalties! The infraction would still be widely known - is this situation better, worse, or just different?
I believe it was worse - watching the officials chasing Lexi out on the course, and altering the final round situation significantly (for all five in contention) near its conclusion, and I never want to see that again. End of round final declaration of scores would have stopped that. [And I want to reduce the risk of outsider manipulation as per my gambling example].
Thank you for the ongoing & interesting discussion,
Rob Anderson

James said...

Although you addressed me as David I assume you meant James. So let me ask this, why do you feel this idiotic process only applies during the competition? If a viewer can call in a day or two later during the competition why not a day or two later after the competition? If the point is that a golfer should be punished after an infraction comes to light why does that change once the tournament is over? I'm sorry, but your rationale and reasoning is indefensible.

Barry Rhodes said...

Robert,

I have never suggested that penalties should be applied after a competition is over (other than for the four exceptions in Rule 34-1b); but strongly believe that known breaches of Rules cannot be ignored while the competition is still in progress, so as to protect the interests of all the competitors. Can you not see the difference between a Committee choosing to ignore a breach occurring during competition and finding out about a breach some time after it is over?

I don't think that your argument is enhanced by your exageration, "watching the officials chasing Lexi out on the course", as this was definitely not the case. The penalty that had been incurred was advised by a senior official in the most diplomatic way possible in the difficult circumstances. When the video of her breach was shown to Lexi Thompson after her round she agreed that she had been at fault, but claimed that it was unintentional. Of course, intent is something that Rules officials can never be sure of, so they have to apply the Rules strictly without favour.

We are going round in circles on this and will have to agree to disagree!

Barry

Barry Rhodes said...

James,

Apologies for wrongly addressing you as David,

The "idiotic" process has served competitions around the world for decades. Remember that the Rules of Golf apply to every single golf competition played under R&A / USGA Rules, not just high-profile tour events.

Note that there are four exceptions in Rule 34-1b where players may be disqualified at any time after a competition has closed. However, regarding a simple breach, such as the one incurred by Lexi Thompson, I see a big difference between a Committee applying a penalty while the competition is in progress and applying it after the competition has closed and the prizes have been awarded. The fact that an obvious breach may come to light some time after the event is unfortunate for the player concerned, who may have benefitted by winning a prize despite breaching a Rule. It is then up to them as to whether they want to return the prize, or donate it to charity, as in the infamous Colin Montgomery incident, so as to minimise their embarrassment. Remember, unlike most sports golf is a game in which players are expected to call their own penalties and the Rules are there to protect the other competitors who are not present to witness their play.

Barry

Erik J. Barzeski said...

James, it's not idiotic, or indefensible.

You can apply a penalty while the competition is still ongoing, but not after it's over (unless it's one of the rare 34-1b situations). Pretty simple and straightforward.

James said...

Barry and Erik, the idiotic process I am referring to is allowing some armchair nitwit to call in a day or two or three after the fact, as long as the tournament is still being played. And, no, that has not, "served competitions around the world for decades". It is most definitely NOT a rule of golf and, yes it is only applied at high-profile tour events. As I said earlier, you are totally missing the point.

Barry Rhodes said...

James,

I am exhausted at trying to explain the circumstance of Lexi's penalty to you, so this will be my last attempt. The competition Rules Officials learned about an obvious breach of a Rule during the competition, i.e. before the result had become official. Under the Rules of Golf they then had no option but to penalise the player for both the breach (Rule 20-7) and for returning a score card which did not include the penalty. Since January 2016, the relevant penalty is two additional strokes (Exception to Rule 6-6d), whereas before this date the player would have been disqualified. The reason that they, and Committees all over the world, have no option than to penalise known breaches of Rules during a competition is because they have a responsibility to every other player competing in the event.

The source of the information leading to an examination of the circumstances of a breach by a Committee is not relevant to the correct application of the Rules of Golf by them.

Barry

Erik J. Barzeski said...

James, it's very simple: I completely disagree with you.

While I could also call you names, I won't. But if calling other people names is how you stress your point, please pretend I've done so to you, as I feel quite strongly about it.

James said...

Erik, we can disagree, that's fine. However, not once did I call you or anyone else a name. Please take the time to read the comment before responding.

And Barry, your last sentence is precisely the point that I have been trying to make: golf is the only sport that allows someone who is not involved in the competition to initiate a review of that competition. This person is not a rules official, or a fellow competitor, or a caddie, or even a person in the gallery, but a viewer at home. Allowing someone who isn't at all remotely involved in a competition to influence the outcome of that competition is just shameful, in my opinion, whether it is golf or any other sport. And, yes, I perfectly understand the point you are making, I just don't agree, which is perfectly ok.

Listen, for all of you purists who really want to make it fair, then have the networks post all of the hours of raw footage from the tournament, including those shots and camera angles that never get televised. Then allow your armchair rules officials to pore over all of the footage and call in violations. Somehow I don't think there is going to be much appetite for that.

Erik J. Barzeski said...

James, I didn't say you called ME a name. You did, however, call other people names. You should take your own advice to read before you comment.

To your second paragraph… so what? Either the person committed a rules infraction or they didn't. Who cares who saw it first? The lay person at home is not penalizing the player. The rules committee is, and only then if the player failed to do so herself.

I've also not yet heard of a purist who insists that it be "fair." Most of the people like me realize that "fair" is not the goal. Not every player has the same weather, the same gallery size, etc. Golf is inherently unfair… except that every player is held to the SAME rules as everyone else, just not the same actual conditions.

Enforcing those same RULES while realizing that it's impossible to create the same CONDITIONS (weather, gallery size, personality of playing partners, etc.) is all that we're after.

You disagree, but you've not got a leg to stand on. It just "feels" wrong to you, or something.

Peter Killick said...

Barry
Is there not a rule that limits a penalty to just two stokes even if there have been two infractions?
Few deny that there was an incorrect replacement of the ball and a justifiable penalty but the retroactive penalty for accepting an incorrect score seems lacking in equity. Surely the player would have to accept that the score was incorrect but how could she know? She was in fact informed long after completion of the 3rd round and whilst she was playing the 4th round. Complete nonsense.

Barry Rhodes said...

Peter,

I understand that the Ruling Bodies may implement a new Decision later this week, to take immediate effect, to address the question of assessing additional penalties on players who did not know that they had incurred a penalty before returning their score card.

The problem that may arise from this is that players (and their caddies) will not be encouraged to learn the Rules of their trade. If players, professional and amateur, do not know they have breached a Rule and so they sign their score card without the penalty, the worst that can happen is that the penalty will subsequently be added to their score if it is discovered. So might as well ignore them! Dangerous.

By the way, I must draw your attention to the fact that 2 years ago Lexi would have been disqualified, for her breach, receiving no prize money, so the Ruling Bodies did try to limit the consequences of a player not including a penalty for a breach of the Rules, whether they knew about it, or not.

Barry

Erik J. Barzeski said...

I have a feeling the ruling bodies are going to offer a knee-jerk reaction and that I will be very disappointed in their actions tomorrow.

Rocko said...

Apparently what is seen can now be unseen....

http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/articles/2017/04/new-rules-of-golf-decision-limits-use-of-video-review.html

Erik J. Barzeski said...

I disagree, Rocko - they simply expanded the "naked eye" test. So it's not what what's seen being unseen, it's about what video only can show us that is deemed unseen by the naked eye… because it's not.

Lexi would have still been penalized. Anna would not have.

Barry Rhodes said...

Rocko,

Not really! This quote from the Decision;

The standards in the Decision do not change any of the current requirements in the Rules, as the player must still act with care, report all known breaches of the Rules and try to do what is reasonably expected in making an accurate determination when applying the Rules.

With direct reference to the Lexi incident, those that thought she was unfairly penalised will take this Decision to mean that the officials now have a way out without assessing any penalty, whereas those that think that she deserved the penalty, because she was either intentionally or unintentionally lax in how she marked her ball, will say that it it changes nothing.

I am still of the opinion that if an obvious breach of a Rule is not properly penalised, viral social media commentary will ensure that the player's performance in the competition will always be tainted.

Barry