Examining The Lexi Penalty | 2017 ANA Inspiration

Looking Back At The Lexi Penalty

The golf world has been rumbling about last weekend’s LPGA ANA Inspiration and the Lexi penalty. Lexi Thompson was assessed a four stroke penalty and lost her lead at the major. However, she wasn’t penalized when the error occurred during round three. Thompson was penalized during round four after a television viewer sent officials an email of their findings. If you haven’t seen the video yet, let’s start there.

The Rules

This video shows Lexi Thompson marking and replacing her ball in a different location. Under USGA rule 20-7c, that’s a two stroke penalty

If a competitor makes a stroke from a wrong place, he incurs a penalty of two strokes under the applicable Rule. He must play out the hole with the ball played from the wrong place, without correcting his error, provided he has not committed a serious breach.

Since Thompson should have been given a two stroke penalty, she technically signed for an incorrect score at Saturday’s third round. According to USGA rule 6-6d, that’s another two stroke penalty.

The competitor is responsible for the correctness of the score recorded for each hole on his score card. If he returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken, he is disqualified. If he returns a score for any hole higher than actually taken, the score as returned stands.

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.

Who Calls The Shots?

The video appears to show a clear penalty. The question is, should a television viewer be allowed to help enforce the rules of the game? Rules officials didn’t catch the error and Thompson wasn’t penalized until the next round. There was no shortage of opinions after the Lexi penalty, either.

The golf world is divided here. Did Lexi Thompson commit a rules infraction? The video certainly seems to show it.

Lexi Thompson marking her golf ball, resulting in this past weekend's Lexi penalty.

Lexi Thompson marking her golf ball, resulting in this past weekend’s Lexi penalty.

But who gets to the call the shots? If the LPGA missed it initially, what are the limitations? Television viewers of sporting events get the benefit of many replays in high definition these days. They clearly get to see things officials can’t. Should a viewer have been allowed to enforce this rule the day after a penalty? The LPGA thought so. Ultimately it’s there job to police the players and in this instance, they felt the infraction was obvious enough to enforce the penalty.

We’ve shown you the video, recapped the rules and seen opinions on both sides of this one. What do you think about the Lexi penalty?

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