Professional Golf Finally Ends the Unpopular Viewer Call-In Rule

Professional Golf Finally Ends the Unpopular Viewer Call-In Rule

Professional Golf Finally Ends the Unpopular Viewer Call-In Rule

Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, tournament officials will no longer field or consider your call-ins as part of rules decisions. The fact that armchair golf fans could conceivably shape the outcome of a professional event was ludicrous, but luckily that power has been taken away from them.

The working group was established after an uproar at the first women's major of 2017 when Lexi Thompson was assessed a four-stroke penalty Sunday for a rules breach that occurred Saturday afternoon. Instead, a dedicated rules official will monitor video during tournaments.

The USGA's senior director of the Rules of Golf, Thomas Pagel, told Golf Channel's Morning Drive show: "The message is, as a fan, enjoy watching the game and the best players in the world, but also have the confidence that the committee in charge of the competition have the rules handled".

The governing bodies aren't eliminating video review of golfers' rounds altogether, just restricting it in most cases to designated officials for PGA and LPGA tournaments.

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously.

The PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA tour and PGA of America - has voted to stop considering viewer call-ins when processing potential rule violations. Tournament officials docked Thompson two strokes for misplacing her ball on the 17th green during the previous round, plus two more for having signed an incorrect scorecard, after a TV viewer notified them of the infraction via email.

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"We see this today in social media and otherwise, and not just limited to golf, you see video that's clipped and manipulated", Pagel said. She was penalized two strokes for the infraction, plus another two for signing an incorrect scorecard.

Further, the local rule, which becomes available from January 1, 2018, eliminates the additional two-stroke penalty applied to players for failing to include a penalty on the score card when the player was unaware of the penalty.

Thompson went on to lose the tournament in the playoffs and the incident caused massive outcry. At the 2013 Masters, Tiger Woods had two shots added to his second-round score after being called out by a viewer for an improper drop on the par-5 15th hole.

Under the protocols set for January 1, officials reviewing video will only look at footage provided by the tournament's broadcast partner.

These latest moves follow a decision earlier this year, in April, to limit the use of video through the introduction of a "reasonable judgement" standard and a "naked eye" standard.

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