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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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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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