Lexi Thompson lost the ANA Inspiration in truly devastating fashion, but the USGA already is trying to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Thompson had a two-stroke lead after the 12th hole on the final day of the LGPA’s first major of the year, but she was assessed a four-stroke penalty after a TV viewer called in to report the 22-year-old had incorrectly marked her ball on one of the holes. However, the infraction happened the day before on the 17th green, and Thompson ended up losing to So Yeon Ryu in a playoff.
But on Tuesday, the USGA and R&A implemented a new rule, fittingly dubbed the “Lexi Thompson Rule,” that sets out to limit the use of video replay and ideally prevent situations like Thompson’s from happening again. The rule is effective immediately.
“New Decision 34-3/10 implements two standards for Rules committees 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,” the USGA said in a statement. “The use of video technology can make it possible to identify things that could not be seen with the naked eye.”
As is the case in pretty much every other sport, the rule states, “so long as the player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be inaccurate by the use of video evidence.”
The new rule doesn’t abolish viewers from reporting infractions, but Thompson definitely would have benefitted from it. While the golfer did incorrectly place her ball, it wasn’t enough to notice with the naked eye, and she shouldn’t have lost the tournament based on something that happened nearly a full 24 hours before she was penalized for it.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images