R&A and USGA announce new video protocols for televised golf events


Armchair golf fans will no longer be able to "call-in" rules infringements after a new set of protocols for reviewing video coverage was agreed across the game.

The new rules will take effect on January 1, and the world's major tours - the PGA Tour, the LPGA, the European Tour, the Ladies European Tour and the PGA of America - have all agreed to them.

In a move welcomed by players, a Local Rule will be adopted from the New Year that will remove the two-stroke penalty for failing to record a penalty on the scorecard when the player was unaware of the infraction, such as the example of Lexi Thompson back in April at the ANA Inspiration.

"A lot of the stuff that people are looking to call penalties on from home - a good majority of those penalties go away with the rules modernization code", he said, according to Golf Week.

She was penalised two strokes for not replacing her ball exactly where she marked it (this rules has now been altered) and then penalised two more strokes for signing for the wrong scorecard, even though she didn't know she had a penalty until the next day. Because that would have made her score two shots higher, she received an additional two-shot penalty for the scorecard error.

Spectators at tournaments, in addition to players, caddies and event staffers, can still alert officials about possible violations they spot, with those concerns addressed by an official video review. If the same thing happened in 2018, it appears that none of the four penalty strokes would have been applied.

Lexi was leading the first women's major of the season during the final round and eventually lost out in a playoff.

Further, the local rule, which becomes available from January 1, 2018, eliminates the additional two-stroke penalty applied to players for failing to include a penalty on the score card when the player was unaware of the penalty. That doesn't eliminate TV viewers from noticing violations - such as the incorrect drop by Tiger Woods at the 2013 Masters - but tournament officials will not have a method for fans to call, email or text. It added that such "viewer call ins", no matter how "well intentioned" they may be, create "an unhealthy perception of random, inconsistent and/or improperly motivated outside intervention in applying the Rules".