The U.S. Golf Association announced Monday rules changes that would get rid of armchair rules officials as well as nix the two-shot penalty for players who unknowingly sign an incorrect scorecard because of a call-in violation. Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, the U.S. Golf Association, R&A and the game’s major professional tours no longer will accept calls and emails from fans who think they have spotted rules violations.
The rule change was welcomed – and applauded – by several pro golfers, including LPGA golfer Lexi Thompson, who was a victim of an armchair ruling after a viewer called in an infraction during the final round of the ANA Inspiration, costing Thompson four shots and the tournament.
Here is a look at the reaction to the rules changes, most of which was emailed or said via phone to Golfweek:
I was informed of the two rule changes this morning from my management team at Blue Giraffe Sports. I applaud the USGA and the R & A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf. In my case, I am thankful that no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future. I just finished an amazing week at the QBE Shark Shooutout in Naples, and I am excited to begin my offseason. I will have no further comment on these changes as I look forward to now spending time with my family and friends. I hope everyone has an awesome Holiday season, and I wish everyone a healthy and happy 2018! 🎁
“Not really surprised, great that they got rid of the penalty for a wrong card. I was indifferent about whether to allow call-ins. Don’t necessary agree with having an official watch the coverage because it still subjects those players that are on TV to more scrutiny when it comes to the rules. Doesn’t fix that side of everyone’s complains about the call-ins.” — Stacy Lewis
“First off, I think it’s fantastic. No other sport do they allow call-ins. What happened to Lexi, that was ridiculous. With that being said, the more popular you are, the better player you are, the more likely you are going to be on TV … why do they have to have the safety net of (a rules official) watching? Is that really necessary?” – Brittany Lang
(Lang also addressed the extra scorecard penalty change: “Another fantastic change. [What happened at ANA] was absolutely absurd. … That was a sad day in golf. We looked like absolute morons.”)
“I think it’s about time. So many people have suffered and lost out on majors because of it. Just happens that they finally did the right thing.” — Brittany Lincicome
“It doesn’t change anything about the way I play golf myself. I always play abiding by the rules and maintaining them above everything else when in competition, as all professional golfers do and should. It doesn’t have any direct effect on how I play. I have called infractions on myself when there was no one else to witness it; most of us have. That being said, taking the two strokes away after the fact seems appropriate, but not incurring an infraction in the first place fixes both rules. And call ins can have an adverse reaction to the flow of the game. Golf isn’t like every other sport, where you try to get away with whatever you can, at all costs, in order to win. We don’t flop (other than with wedges), nor do we try to get away with sticking fingers in the eye of our competitor. We play against a golf course and ourselves, then see how scores stack up. Minus match play, of course.” – Christina Kim