AUGUSTA, Ga. – It’s not often that the LPGA remains a hot topic 48 hours into Masters week. But Lexi Thompson’s four-stroke penalty last Sunday at the ANA Inspiration left many of the game’s heavy-hitters both shocked and outraged by what transpired.
Phil Mickelson called for all-out reversal from the LPGA.
“To have a tournament be decided like that,” said Mickelson, “with all the scenarios going around, as far as viewers calling in, as far as it being a one-foot putt with really no advantage, just a little bit of loose marking, if you will, something that happens all the time, intentionally unintentionally … I think it should be reversed. I think that (Thompson) should be given the trophy.”
Rory McIlroy took issue with being given a two-stroke penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard when she didn’t know it was incorrect.
“That was the one that really I think outraged most people,” he said.
McIlroy noted that he has known Thompson for several years and believed nothing was done intentionally.
“She is not a cheat,” he said.
Jack Nicklaus echoed McIlroy’s sentiments, saying he didn’t believe anything malicious had occurred. Thompson simply made a mistake when replacing her ball on the 17th hole Saturday.
But he took issue with the timing, saying he believes that once the round is done and a scorecard is signed, late penalties should be not be assessed.
“The day is over,” Nicklaus said. “That’s my opinion. I mean, that isn’t necessarily what it is. But that’s what I think.”
Justin Thomas had a problem with a television viewer reporting the infraction. He said he once turned to Google to try to find where someone would even send such an email.
“It’s frustrating,” he said, “and it needs to go away, and it needs to change.”
McIlroy praised Thompson for her composure herself down the stretch, saying 99.9 percent of the public and golf fraternity were in agreement that she’d been wronged.
“I just think what’s happened the last 12 months,” said McIlroy, “with all these rules controversies in the game, it just doesn’t put out a good image for us and for the game of golf.”