In the last 2 weeks we heard so many comments around the incident involving Lexi Thomson at the ANA Championship in Palm Springs. Most of the golfers did not agree that a spectator can call a penalty on a player the day after the fact. I did not receive many comments on any conscience matter….
This week I will explain the 2 rules that were invoked in this incident.
SCORE CARD (Rule 6-6d)
If a competitor returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken due to failure to include one or more penalty strokes that, before returning his score card, he did not know he had incurred, he is not disqualified. In such circumstances, the competitor incurs the penalty prescribed by the applicable Rule and an additional penalty of two strokes for each hole at which the competitor has committed a breach of Rule 6-6d
This rule should be used only when the player was not aware of the breach. All the players know that when you mark your ball on the green, you must replace it in the same spot. As an example, if a player take out a white stake and he does not know it is illegal, he will not be disqualified, we will give him the 2 strokes penalty for removing a white stake + a 2 strokes penalty for returning a wrong score card if the breach is known after the card was signed. It is possible not to be disqualified if you did not know the rule. If you don’t put your ball in the hole and this fact if found out the next day, you will be disqualified because the Committee will not accept that you did not know this rule.
MARKING THE BALL AND REPLACING IT
If we use a tee or a coin, it is always possible to replace the ball at the exact spot with very little margin of error. When we look at the video, we can see clearly that Lexi replaced her ball in a different spot. This exceeds the normal margin of error.
WRONG SCORE CARD
I don’t have any problem to give the benefit of the doubt to a player who did not know it is not permitted to remove a leaf in a bunker or a white stake.. But is it reasonable to accept that a player did not know that he must replace the ball at the same place?
Rule 6-6d gives a chance to the player to receive a 2 stroke penalty instead of a disqualification if he or she was ignorant of the rule. Is it reasonable to accept that Lexi did not know it because she was so focused on her game?
For that reason I think she should have been disqualified for signing and returning a wrong score card.
Your comments will be read will a lot of curiosity. I have read many comments from around the world and it should not be a surprise for you to know that the comments from Europe are the opposite from the ones from the US…