Rules controversy costs Lexi Thompson second major title

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One of golf’s majors was dogged by a major rules controversy for the second time in less than a year with Lexi Thompson the victim at the ANA Inspiration.

Just ten months on from the Dustin Johnson debacle at the US Open, which despite being assessed a penalty he went on to win, Thompson wasn’t as fortunate even though she battled back from a four-stroke penalty – only to lose to So Yeon Ryu in a play-off.

Thompson held the 54-hole lead at the first women’s major of the year by two strokes but, at the 12th green during the final round, was informed of an infringement that had taken place the previous day.

On the 17th hole on Saturday, video shows Thompson marking her ball before attempting a short putt.

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In the replay, Thompson’s coin was not visible when she marked her ball, but it was afterwards when she placed the ball back on the green, meaning she had replaced the ball in the wrong place.

The infringement had been spotted by a TV viewer and officials assessed Thompson with a two-stroke penalty for playing from the wrong place, plus another two strokes for signing an incorrect scorecard.

Thompson called the decision ‘ridiculous’ and struggled to hold back tears as she hit her tee shot on the 13th hole.

She battled back admirably though with three birdies and a bogey in her final six holes to force the play-off, but Ryu prevailed at the first hole to clinch her second major title.

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“On Sunday afternoon, the LPGA received an email from a television viewer, saying that Lexi Thompson did not properly replace her ball prior to putting out on the 17th hole during Saturday’s third round of the ANA Inspiration,” said an LPGA statement.

“The claim was quickly investigated by LPGA Rules officials. After a full review, it was determined that Thompson breached Rule 20-7c (playing from wrong place), and received a two-stroke penalty.

“She incurred an additional two-stroke penalty under Rule 6-6d for returning an incorrect scorecard in round three. She was immediately notified of the breach LPGA Rules Committee in between holes 12 and 13 of the final round.”

Tiger Woods was among a number of professionals who sounded off at how a TV viewer could affect the outcome of one of golf’s majors.

Lexi Thompson rules controversy

What did you make of the rules controversy that affected the outcome of the ANA Inspiration? Let us know in the 'Comments' section below.

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