The Lexi Thompson rule is going live

By | December 11, 2017

Tours to eliminate two-shot scorecard error for TV call-in reviews | via PGATour.com

According to the video review protocol for tournaments on TV, officials will not monitor or review any calls from views at home… tournament officials will not have a method for fans to call, email or text.

Already scheduled to be part of the wider rules revisions coming in 2019, the USGA and R&A have agreed to implement the “Lexi Rule” effective January 1st as a local rule. Essentially, any communications from outside of the tournament by the general public will be ignored by the onsite rules officials as a trigger to take a closer look at events on the course. Specifically, this change is meant to address the two-shot penalty for signing a bad scorecard when an on-course violation is later seen via video following the round.

What this rule doesn’t remove is the assessing of a penalty following the round for a rules infraction. So, in the case of Lexi Thompson, she would still receive the 2-shot penalty for incorrectly marking her ball the previous day. It only would eliminate the additional 2-shots she received for then technically signing a bad scorecard.

Video review continues to be a complicated issue on the major tours. As I discussed in a previous post, not every player will have the same video coverage of their round. The chances that a player will get away with a rules violation, intentional or not, will increase if their round is not receiving shot-by-shot television coverage. Also on the table is the question of how far back in time should officials be able to look to discover infractions.

In my opinion, the signing of the scorecard needs to be a two-way contract. The player signs the card to officially declare their score and the officials, by accepting that card, are then acknowledging that they confirm that score to be accurate closing out the possibility of further review.

Of course, there will continue to be problems. If we, the home viewer, clearly see an infraction, but the event officials miss it or see it too late, there is the real risk that an event’s champion may be viewed as being illegitimate.

This won’t be the last time the tours need to fine-tune their use of video evidence.