Golf Channel — …A “working group” led by the USGA and R&A announced on Monday the new protocols, which include assigning a rule official to a tournament broadcast to resolve rules issues.
The group – which includes the PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA tour and PGA of America – also voted to stop considering viewer call-ins when processing potential rule violations.
In addition, a new local rule was announced that will discontinue the penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard when the player was unaware of the violation.
Wow, golf with a rare move today. Golf has taken what is ridiculously obvious and correct… and done it! Amazing! Instead of giving viewers the power to call rules violations after scouring endless replays and zooming in on slow-motion footage in an attempt to determine if players commit any microscopic violations, and then punishing said players twice for those violations, golf now will not be doing this!
New rule changes: viewer call-ins will not be accepted and the unknowing signing of an incorrect scorecard will not be punished. The changes are being universally applauded because, well, they’re common fucking sense.
A few major incidents in recent years sparked these changes. Lexi Thompson, in the first women’s major of this year, was punished 4 strokes in the middle of her final round after a viewer called in about her misplacing (by about an inch) her ball on a green Saturday.
Lexi was penalized 2 strokes for the violation, and 2 additional strokes for signing what they deemed to have then become an “incorrect scorecard” for her Saturday round. She would go on to lose in a playoff. That is incomprehensibly dumb and illogical; how can you be penalized for signing an “incorrect scorecard” that, when signed, was 100% a correct scorecard?
Lexi, with the changes, would have (and should have) won the season’s first major in a blowout.
Another famous case was Tiger at the 2013 Masters.
After weighing his options following the shitty break, Tiger opted to drop from the same spot as he struck his previous shot. However, he admitted in a post-round interview that he moved back a few feet so he could hit the exact same shot with it landing a few feet shorter, skipping forward, and stopping next to the hole. That’s exactly what happened, Tiger made 6, and finished out his round.
That evening, a viewer who’d noticed Tiger’s drop called in and he was penalized 2 strokes for the violation. He’d ultimately take an 8 on the hole, and missed out on a playoff by 4 strokes.
(the Tiger case is significantly more damning than Lexi’s, but the point still stands — there would’ve been no penalty with today’s changes)
Viewer call-ins are dumb for many reasons.
1. You have no idea if these viewers have an agenda or not, if they’re purposefully deciding to call-in certain violations while ignoring others.
2. Players, in real time, don’t have replay, multiple angles, zoom-in capability. Determining what was intentional or noticeable as it happened versus what is intentional or noticeable via replay is, in many cases, impossible.
3. Players shouldn’t be vulnerable to extra scrutiny just because they’re playing on TV. Not all players’ play receives the same exposure, so you can’t allow violations that can only be brought upon some players.
There are more but you get the point. These are no-brainer decisions for golf. They don’t get it right very often, but today they did. It’s a Christmas miracle!