A great disservice was done yesterday to one of America’s shining LPGA stars. I am sure by now that you have heard about the rules violation and ensuing penalties assessed to Lexi Thompson during the final round of the ANA Inspiration Tournament.
If you haven’t heard, here’s what happened. On Sunday, with a 3-shot lead heading to the 13th hole, Lexi Thompson was told that a viewer had e-mailed LPGA Rules officials about a possible violation from Saturday’s round. After reviewing the possible violation it was determined that she had, indeed, marked her ball but replaced it incorrectly, thus moving her ball. She was given a 2-stroke penalty for that infraction, and another 2-stroke penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard because of the ruling.
Here is my take on it: If the violation is not discovered before the end of that round of golf, then there should be no penalty. This is equivalent to the NFL reviewing a play the next day and changing the ruling, thus changing the outcome of the game. It’s unheard of in ANY other sport. No other game allows VIEWERS any input. Could you imagine the amount of e-mails the NFL, MLB, NBA, or NHL would get?!
While there is no measuring intent here, there is no question in my mind that the infraction was unintentional and a simple mistake. She marked her ball from the side, something most golfers never do, so her perspective was off, and I believe that this lead to the mistake. And while there is no question of the rules of golf, and of the infraction, the fact that Officials weren’t even aware of it until 2/3 of the way through the NEXT round, to me, is the major issue.
Lexi went on to force a playoff with eventual winner So Yeon Ryu, losing on the first playoff hole. The 4-stroke penalty was assessed before she teed off on the 13th hole, which she went on to birdie. In her post round interview, she smiled through tears as she explained her thoughts and emotions throughout the afternoon.
If you weren’t already a fan of Lexi Thompson, I suggest you get on board. She is a great ambassador for American women’s golf and the LPGA. Above all else, though, she showed the heart and strength of a lion yesterday. As Mike Tirico stated as he closed out the television coverage, “A great champion won today, and a great champion lost.”
Way to go Lexi! You were robbed a day late and it cost you a major championship. Stay strong and keep fighting. We’re all pulling for you.