The controversy occurred at the 14th hole and involved her ball rolling down a slope on the green after it had stopped. The commentators interpreted the picture on the television screen as a violation as the ball began rolliing after she appeared to address the ball.
I am very disappointed that my win yesterday has become a controversy, Gustafson said in a statement released by the LPGA.
I've never had anything like this happen to me before, and I have always played golf with respect for the game and for my playing partners. Of course I did not see the telecast, but I understand that the commentators were very sure that I had violated the rules.
She noted that no telecasters saw the action first-hand, since no one from NBC was accompanying her group.
Unfortunately, even though I was tied for the lead at the time, there was no one from NBC walking with my group, she said in the statement. If they had been there, they would have been in awe of how my ball was just hanging on the slope of the green, and they could have communicated that to the people watching at home.
Secondly, they also could have talked about how I put a tee behind my ball marker when I went behind the hole to survey my putt, instead of leaving the ball there like I normally do. This is because I was afraid that if I put it down and walked all the way over to the other side of the hole, the ball would have been gone by the time I got back.
Finally, a commentator following my group would have seen that I did not ground my club, because I knew the rules from playing in very windy conditions in Europe, and I was afraid the ball might move.
Gustafson also heatedly objected to comments concerning the integrity of the LPGA rules officials. Gustafson is involved in a romantic relationship with LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw, which some have interpreted as a conflict of interest in the rules situation.
I am upset that they (the officials) were accused of ignoring the rules for my sake, she said. All of our rules officials are experts at what they do and would never rule for or against a player based on anything but the black-and-white rules of golf.
'I believe NBC owes them an apology.