Lexi Thompson cleared by R&A amid 'cheating' storm

Lexi Thompson

The R&A has confirmed that it reviewed a possible infraction involving Lexi Thompson during the opening round of the AIG Women's Open, determining that no rules were broken.

Footage of Thompson using a club to brush a tuft of grass that her ball was resting close to on the 16th hole at Royal Troon has been widely circulated on social media. That prompted many to accuse the American of cheating by intentionally trying to improve her lie. 

In response, The R&A has issued a statement on the incident. 

It said: "Yesterday, as part of its normal TV review procedures, The R&A viewed Lexi Thompson's actions prior to playing her second shot at the 16th hole in round one of the AIG Women's Open. 

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"Following a discussion between Chief Referee David Rickman and the player prior to her signing her scorecard, it was determined that, although the player had moved a growing natural object behind her ball, it had returned to its original position. Therefore, the lie of the ball was not improved and there was no breach of Rule 8.1."

Rule 8.1 relates to "Player's Actions That Improve Conditions Affecting the Stroke". You can read the rule in full here.

Here's a look at the incident in question...

This is not the first time that Thompson has found herself at the centre of controversy in a major championship.

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At the 2017 ANA Inspiration, she was penalised four shots after replacing her ball incorrectly at the 17th hole during her third round 

The infringement was only spotted by a TV viewer after the fact, which meant she was penalised for replacing the ball incorrectly and signing an incorrect scorecard. She subsequently lost that event in a playoff. 

After two rounds at Royal Troon, she is outside the cutline and unlikely to advance to the weekend.

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