Guest Blog USGA must act on video shambles

2016 07 Usga

When I think of the recent USGA debacles at both the men’s and women’s US Opens, I can’t help but think of the song ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’.

There’s a great line in that one-hit wonder from The Buggles that declares ‘pictures came and broke my heart’.

Pictures, or video evidence, could have broken Dustin Johnson’s heart at Oakmont and video evidence certainly broke Anna Nordqvist’s heart at CordeValle. In my opinion, this is wrong on so many levels and something has to be done about it.

Read more -> Players slam USGA over DJ ruling 'farce'

If the USGA is to stop this ‘annus horribilis’, they should take a leaf from the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) book and understand how TV evidence is handled.

In a tennis match, players can challenge dubious calls made by the umpire or line judges. However, if they don’t and the broadcast replays the shot only to prove the call was wrong, the original call stands. There’s no going and saying, “Excuse me, Mr. McEnroe, but video evidence shows the ace that you thought you had to win game four in the second set was actually out.”
How about using video evidence only if someone in the group questions a ruling?

It would be ludicrous, wouldn’t it? And yet this is exactly what unfolded in golf terms at both Oakmont, where the men played their US Open, and CordeValle where the women played their equivalent championship.

U.S. Open - Final Round

Here is an idea the USGA should mull over as they gather for their annual committee meeting later this year. How about using video evidence only if someone in the group questions a ruling? If the rule is broken and penalties have to be given, the players must be notified before they tee off the next hole. In other words, once the hole is finished the score stands - period. This simple solution to all this nonsense would put an end to armchair viewers calling in and/or camera people spotting an infraction, which is impossible to see with the naked eye.

Read more -> USGA 'regret' over handling of DJ ruling

If nothing is done about all this, video will kill golf. Look how frustrated we all were as golf fans watching the men’s US Open when we didn’t really know what the heck was going on. Goodness knows what kind of revolt would have happened had DJ not won by more than one shot. It would have been carnage

U.S. Women's Open - Final Round

Then there was the case with Brittany Lang, above - the poor girl didn’t know what to do when she won the US Women’s Open. As golf fans, we want to see the emotion, the fist pumps, the tears, the dance around the green, the collapse to the knees after a major win. Instead, we saw her awkwardly enjoy the moment. She clearly didn’t want to win under the circumstances that prevailed down the stretch thanks to video evidence.

To compound yet another week to forget for the USGA, their president, Diana Murphy, put the icing on the cake when she called the newly-crowned champ ‘Bethany’ several times during the prize presentation.

With all that said  - anyone for tennis?

Guest Blog: Kathryn Imrie

Kathryn Imrie is a former LPGA winner and Solheim Cup player and an LPGA Class A Instructor at Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club in California.

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