LPGA official on breaking penalty news to Lexi Thompson: ‘It made me sick’

April 3, 2017

The LPGA rules official who had to break the news to Lexi Thompson that she’d been issued a four-stroke penalty in the ANA Inspiration said that telling Thompson made her feel sick.

In an article on the Golf Channel, the LPGA’s vice president of rules and competition Sue Witters spoke about the difficulty of delivering such heartbreaking news to Thompson as she tried to seal a victory in the final round of the tournament.

“It’s a hard thing to do, and it made me sick, to be honest,” Witters said. But Witters did not regret the LPGA’s stance, saying that she had no choice but to follow through once she’d seen the video. “If it comes out there was a violation in the rules, then it would be the opposite story: ‘Oh, they knew. Why didn’t they do anything about it?’ I can’t go to bed tonight knowing that I let a rule slide,” Witters said.

For her part, Thompson was shocked. “Is this a joke?” she asked as she tried to process the penalty.

The LPGA decided to penalize Thompson 24 hours after the infraction had occurred because of video replay pointed out by a fan. The decision has not gone over well in the court of public opinion, especially given that Thompson ended up losing the tournament in a playoff. Numerous pro golfers, celebrities and fans weighed in on Twitter in support of Thompson.