Report: 'Lexi Rule' coming from R&A, USGA to prevent TV viewers impacting results

By The Sports Xchange  |  April 24, 2017 at 6:44 PM
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The R&A and USGA are expected to announce on Tuesday a change to the Rules of Golf to ensure that what happened to Lexi Thompson at the ANA Inspiration early this month will not happen again, Golfweek reported.

Golf's governing bodies met during the Masters at Augusta National a few weeks ago and discussed the controversial four-stroke penalty that cost Thompson the title during the first LPGA Tour major of the season.

R&A officials refused to comment on the pending announcement on Monday at a media day for the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, where the third major of the PGA Tour season will be played in July.

However, sources told Golfweek that the decision on a new rule that will take effect immediately will come on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old Thompson incorrectly replaced her ball after marking it on the 17th green during the third round, missing her spot marginally, which could only be seen clearly with a zoom lens with the tape running in slow motion.

The next day, a television viewer contacted LPGA Tour officials and told them of the infraction in an e-mail.

After viewing the tape, officials hit Thompson a two-stroke penalty for incorrectly replacing her ball and another two-stroke penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard at the end of the third round.

Thompson, who was notified of the penalties while walking off the 12th green in the final round, later finished in a tie for first with So Yeon Ryu and lost to the South Korean on the first hole of a playoff.

The incident sparked a huge debate on social media, with such notables as Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam, Phil Mickelson and Johnny Miller slamming the decision.

The Rules of Golf are undergoing updating that is expected to take effect in 2019, but reportedly the Lexi Rule will be enforced immediately.

There was no indication as to exactly what the new rule will say, but speculation is that officials might be prevented in the future from acting on infractions sent in by TV viewers.

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