The R&A and USGA have issued a new Decision on the Rules of Golf to limit the use of video evidence in the game - but won't stop TV viewers calling in infringements.
Decision 34-3/10, which comes into effect immediately, follows the recent ruling at the ANA Inspiration, where Lexi Thompson (below) was given a four-stroke penalty in her final round due to an infringement spotted by a TV viewer the previous day. She ended up losing the tournament in a play-off.
It addresses two situations where Rules committees will be able to limit the use of video and overrule penalties.
When video reveals evidence that could not reasonably be seen with the 'naked eye'.
The first standard states ‘the use of video technology can make it possible to identify things that could not be seen with the naked eye’. An example includes a player who unknowingly touches a few grains of sand in taking a backswing with a club in a bunker when making a stroke.
If the committee concludes that such facts could not reasonably have been seen with the naked eye and the player was not otherwise aware of the potential breach, the player will be deemed not to have breached the Rules, even when video technology shows otherwise.
When players use their reasonable judgment to determine a specific location when applying the Rules.
The second standard applies when a player determines a spot, point, position, line, area, distance or other location in applying the Rules, and recognises that a player should not be held to the degree of precision that can sometimes be provided by video technology. Examples include determining the nearest point of relief, or replacing a lifted ball.
So long as the player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be wrong by the use of video evidence.
Immediately following the announcement, the LPGA released the following statement.
Our statement regarding the USGA and R&A Decision 34-3/10: pic.twitter.com/9ZJiY7P0qE— #RaceToCMEGlobe (@LPGA) April 25, 2017
Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, said: “We have been considering the impact of video review on the game and feel it is important to introduce a Decision to give greater clarity in this area.
“Golf has always been a game of integrity and we want to ensure that the emphasis remains as much as possible on the reasonable judgment of the player rather than on what video technology can show.”