Rule Tip of the Week: Legislation for Lexi?

Do you remember what happened to Lexi Thompson during her final round at the LPGA’s 2017 ANA Inspiration tournament back in early-April? As she was on her way to the 13th teeing ground with a two-stroke lead, she was surprised to learn that she was being assessed a four-stroke penalty for a Rules infraction that had occurred the day before! The LPGA received an email from a television viewer on Sunday indicating that Lexi had failed to replace her ball on the correct spot before putting out on the 17th hole on Saturday. The LPGA reviewed video of the incident and assessed her a two-stroke penalty for playing from a wrong place per Rule 20-7, as well as an additional two-stroke penalty per the Exception to Rule 6-6d [Wrong Score for Hole] for signing an incorrect score card. Under the circumstances, Lexi courageously fought back, but ended up losing to So Yeon Ryu in a playoff. Now, Lexi can’t wait for the coming season to begin! Why? Because the USGA and The R&A have just issued the following announcement regarding a couple of important Rules changes that will take effect January 1, 2018: FAR HILLS, N.J. USA and ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND (December 11, 2017) –  A working group led by the USGA and The R&A has unanimously agreed to adopt a new set of protocols for video review when applying the Rules of Golf. The group, consisting of the PGA TOUR, LPGA, PGA European Tour, Ladies European Tour and The PGA of America, as well as the governing bodies, will implement the following measures from January 1, 2018:

  • Assign one or more officials to monitor the video broadcast of a competition to help identify and resolve Rules issues as they arise.
  • Discontinue any steps to facilitate or consider viewer call-ins as part of the Rules decision process.

In addition, the USGA and The R&A have approved the adoption of a Local Rule, available from January 1, to eliminate the additional two-stroke penalty for failing to include a penalty on the score card when the player was unaware of the penalty. All of the organizations represented on the working group will introduce the Local Rule for 2018, and this score card penalty will be permanently removed when the modernized Rules of Golf take effect on January 1, 2019.   Here is the wording of this new Local Rule: 2018 Local Rule: Modification of Score Card Penalty The Exception to Rule 6-6d is modified as follows: 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, but there is no additional penalty for a breach of Rule 6-6d. This Exception does not apply when the applicable penalty is disqualification from the competition.   R.I.P. Narcolexi!!

December 2017 Rules