Skip to main content

Whan on Lexi ruling: Punishment didn't fit crime

Getty Images

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan was frustrated by the late ruling and penalty that derailed Lexi Thompson’s bid Sunday to win the ANA Championship and said the tour will review the nature of armchair refereeing.

Whan said he feels bad about how the year’s first major unfolded.

“It’s frustrating,” Whan told Matt Adams Tuesday morning on the Fairways of Life Sirius XM PGA Tour radio. “It’s embarrassing. It’s one of those situations where the penalty does not match the crime.”

Thompson was penalized four shots in Sunday’s final round of the championship for a violation discovered late in Saturday’s round. She was assessed a two-shot penalty for marking her ball in the wrong place on the 17th green in the third round, and then assessed two more penalty strokes for signing a wrong scorecard. She was informed of the penalties Sunday after leaving the 12th green, where she went from two shots ahead to two shots behind. So Yeon Ryu ended up defeating Thompson in a playoff.

“I think it’s a fair critique and a fair criticism whether or not somebody can point something out that causes us to review it, and whether or not we should do that a day later,” Whan said. “But that’s not an LPGA thing. That is pretty much an every major tour thing.

“I feel bad about it, but I’m not going to abort the Rules of Golf in the middle of a round. I’m not going to overrule something that is correctly ruled. It doesn’t mean we have to love that ruling and the penalty that goes with it.”

But Whan said a review of how such rulings should be handled is underway.

“I understand the feedback on the call on the video, and I’m not sure I’m on a different side of that, but I’m smart enough to realize when it comes to the Rules of Golf that I need to surround myself with smart people here and hear all the pros and cons,” he said. “There is a reason why we have been following this tact as long as we have, both us and all other tours. So, to change requires us to think through both the pros and cons and make sure we are making the right decision. We are going through that process, but we are not going to rush in and do it simply draped in the anxiety and the pain of Sunday.”