Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

USGA Finally Changes Rules To Thwart Snitching TV Viewers

Photo credit: Lee Jin-man/AP
Photo credit: Lee Jin-man/AP

One of the weakest things to happen in sports this year was Lexi Thompson losing an LPGA major because some asshole who was watching the tournament at home tattled on her for placing a ball no more than an inch away from where she had previously marked it.

The LGPA and PGA have previously encouraged viewers to call in and alert officials to rule violations they see on TV, apparently because they enjoyed having tournament outcomes potentially decided by the biggest dinguses on the planet. But that desire seems to be waning, as today the USGA announced changes to its rulebook that should prevent another situation like the one that stole Thompson’s major from occurring in the future:

New Decision 34-3/10 implements two standards for Rules committees to limit the use of video: 1) when video reveals evidence that could not reasonably be seen with the “naked eye,” and 2) when players use their “reasonable judgment” to determine a specific location when applying the Rules.

The first standard states, “the use of video technology can make it possible to identify things that could not be seen with the naked eye.” An example includes a player who unknowingly touches a few grains of sand in taking a backswing with a club in a bunker when making a stroke.

If the committee concludes that such facts could not reasonably have been seen with the naked eye and the player was not otherwise aware of the potential breach, the player will be deemed not to have breached the Rules, even when video technology shows otherwise. This is an extension of the provision on ball-at-rest-moved cases, which was introduced in 2014.

The second standard applies when a player determines a spot, point, position, line, area, distance or other location in applying the Rules, and recognizes that a player should not be held to the degree of precision that can sometimes be provided by video technology. Examples include determining the nearest point of relief or replacing a lifted ball.

So long as the player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be inaccurate by the use of video evidence.


Now we just need to find the guy who snitched on Thompson and give him a huge wedgie.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter