Eagle-Eyed TV Viewer Costs LPGA Golfer a Tourney

'Is this a joke?' Lexi Thompson asked when informed of penalty—a day later
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2017 5:21 AM CDT
Surprise Ruling Costs LPGA Golfer a Tourney
Lexi Thompson hits from sixth tee during the final round of the LPGA ANA Inspiration golf tournament at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Lexi Thompson is taking a "very needed" three-week break after what she describes on Instagram as "an emotional day." The professional golfer was taking part Saturday in the ANA Inspiration championship in Rancho Mirage, Calif., when she did something that no one noticed—except for a sharp-eyed viewer who emailed the golf association a day later after spotting the infraction, Golf.com reports. The rules violation: Thompson picked up her ball to mark it before a putt, then put it back in the wrong place. Officials on Sunday reviewed the video, then docked Thompson four strokes in total (two for the ball that was misplaced by an inch, two for signing an incorrect scorecard) and notified her as she was leaving the 12th hole, per Golfweek.

"Is this a joke?" a stunned Thompson said, calling the ruling "ridiculous." She was leading the tournament when informed of the infraction but suddenly found herself trailing by two strokes. She managed to rally, only to lose in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu. An LPGA official involved in making the call says she doesn't think the ball-moving was intentional and that it "made me sick" to have to penalize Thompson. Even Tiger Woods weighed in, tweeting, "Viewers at home should not be officials wearing stripes." (Thompson was once the youngest person ever to win an LPGA competition.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.