Golf: Rules of golf tweaked to limit influence of video evidence

Lexi Thompson on the 11th hole during the final round of the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills Country Club on April 2, 2017, in Rancho Mirage, California.
Lexi Thompson on the 11th hole during the final round of the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills Country Club on April 2, 2017, in Rancho Mirage, California.PHOTO: AFP
Lexi Thompson walks off the 18th green as So Yeon Ryu of the Republic of Korea celebrates with her caddie, after Ryu defeated her in a playoff during the final round of the ANA Inspiration at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course in California on April 2
Lexi Thompson walks off the 18th green as So Yeon Ryu of the Republic of Korea celebrates with her caddie, after Ryu defeated her in a playoff during the final round of the ANA Inspiration at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course in California on April 2. PHOTO: AFP

ST ANDREWS (Scotland) • The Royal and Ancient (R&A) and US Golf Association (USGA) yesterday issued a new decision on the rules of golf to limit the use of video evidence in the sport.

The change, which takes effect immediately, seeks to ensure that what cost Lexi Thompson an LPGA Major title does not happen again.

The American incurred a four-stroke penalty a day after a viewer spotted a violation in a slow-motion television replay and e-mailed the LPGA during the ANA Inspiration earlier this month.

According to a statement released by golf's two rule-making bodies Tournament committees will now limit the use of video to:

•When video reveals evidence that could not reasonably be seen with the "naked eye" and

•When players use their reasonable judgment to determine a specific location when applying the rules.

The latter relates directly to how Thompson was issued a two-stroke penalty this month, when officials reviewed video evidence and she was found to have incorrectly replaced her ball after marking it on the 17th green during the third round.

Thompson, who incurred another two-stroke penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard at the end of the round, said that she was unaware of missing the original spot and had done so unintentionally.

Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, said: "We have been considering the impact of video review on the game and feel it is important to introduce a decision to give greater clarity in this area.

"Golf has always been a game of integrity and we want to ensure that the emphasis remains as much as possible on the reasonable judgment of the player rather than on what video technology can show."

USGA executive director Mike Davis also spoke of the need to protect players from video reviews.

"This important first step provides officials with tools that can have a direct and positive impact on the game. We recognise there is more work to be done," he said.

"Advancements in video technology are enhancing the viewing experience for fans but can also significantly affect the competition.

"We need to balance those advances with what is fair for all players when applying the rules."

To prevent another controversy, British golf great Nick Faldo believes top players also need to be "brought up to speed" on the sport's complicated rulebook.

Top players will typically be affected as they are followed by cameras more often.

"The players need to go to a rules seminar," the six-time Major champion said during a teleconference on Monday to promote this year's men's British Open at Royal Birkdale.

"There are probably only two dozen rules that affect play on Tour.

"Players have to be brought up to speed and the caddies need to know as well."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2017, with the headline 'Rules of golf tweaked to limit influence of video evidence'. Print Edition | Subscribe