LPGA reacts to USGA, R&A announcement following Lexi Thompson ruling

April 25, 2017

The LPGA has released a statement applauding the USGA and R&A’s quick turnaround on a rules change after a violation involving Lexi Thompson gave the league some unwanted attention earlier this month.

On Tuesday, the governing bodies announced Decision 34-3/10, which aims to protect players from being penalized for infractions that “could not reasonably have been seen with the naked eye.” It doesn’t eliminate viewer call-ins or video playback evidence, but hopes to minimize issues like the one Thompson found herself in during her final-round back nine at the 2017 ANA Inspiration.

Thompson was slapped with two two-stroke penalties for hitting a ball from the wrong place and signing an incorrect scorecard for her third round.

The USGA’s senior director for Rules of Golf and Amateur Status, Thomas Pagel, said the decision did not come as a result of a single incident or set of incidents, but from the bodies’ “ongoing effort to keep the Rules apace with modern times.” In a statement, the LPGA applauded the swift moves by both the USGA and R&A, but the tone seems more personal, given that those in golf media circles had taken to referring to the incident as the “Lexi rule.”

“We are also encouraged that the governing bodies will continue to vet the rules (through a collaborative working group which includes the LPGA) regarding information from outside sources — and in particular — information received via viewer call-ins and emails after a round has been deemed official by the Rules Committee,” the statement said.

“We trust that the USGA and the R&A will continue to make this a priority, and we will continue to share our feedback directly with them.”

The LPGA had defended their decision to assess the four-stroke penalty, upholding the integrity of the rules of golf when the violation was brought to their attention.