Should TV viewers be allowed to call in rules violations


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.