Should TV viewers be allowed to call in rules violations

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 8, 2011, 1:33 am

Camilo Villegas was disqualified from the Hyundai Tournament of Champions when a television viewer called in a penalty. Should the TV audience be allowed to call in rules violations? Editorial manager Mercer Baggs and associate editor Jon Levy weigh in with their opinions.


Television viewers should have the right to call rules infractions on tour players.

Golf prides itself on adherence to its rules, to ridiculous lengths. If the game is going to be played to the letter of the law then no mistake should go unpunished.

Of course, the sport should review and revise the Rules of Golf as it allows for enumerate unfair penalties. But if a player is allowed to be disqualified for failing to sign his scorecard – which has no bearing on his performance or equality to the field – then it should allow for penalties to be called during competition, regardless of who noticed the offense.

The TV audience isn't playing judge and jury – the rules are already in place; they're making citizen's arrests.

Don't blame the viewer; blame the player. The Rules of Golf may be more convoluted than the ObamaCare bill, but millions of dollars are on the line each week and players need to be held accountable. Ultimately, it's their fault.

Try putting down your twitter phone and picking up a rules book.

I don't much like the process and it's not wholly fair either, as some players may never be televised. But like has nothing to do with it, and whoever said rules were fair?


The rules are the rules are the rules. I get that. The game gets that. That’s why the U.S. Golf Association has extensive book of rules – to define the parameters of this game clearly.

Some sports use instant replay. In golf, all we have are those who play it and those who officiate it. Often, rules situations are a best guess on the truth.

Camilo Villegas broke rule 23-1 Thursday at Kapalua. But he didn’t report it – a viewer did, and so he got DQ’d. Sure, he broke the rules, but we need to draw a line in the sand because if we don’t, players are going to be stripped of titles like Reggie Bush his Heisman.

Villegas most likely didn’t know he broke a rule, but he clearly did and someone not involved with the tournament called him on it. We’re all refs when it comes to football and basketball games. That’s half the fun of it – to put in our two cents.

But golf is different and should remain so because by its own theory it’s a self-policing game.

So by the pure morals and integrity of the game the rules should be managed by those playing and those officiating only – not a pseudo rules official sitting on his or her couch.

Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

“Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

“I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”

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PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.


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. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.

Full-field scores from the Joburg Open

Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm