Golf needs to stop letting people watching on TV call penalties

On a weekend that featured both NCAA basketball Final Fours, MLB Opening Day, and WWE’s WrestleMania, the biggest headline and uproar came from none of those events.

Instead, it came from the LPGA Tour, which was wrapping up its first major of the season at the AMA Inspiration.

For those who missed it, leader Lexi Thompson was rolling towards the season’s first major Sunday, when suddenly she was hit with four strokes worth of penalties more than halfway through her round…for something that happened Saturday.

Two for player her ball from the wrong spot, and two for signing the wrong scorecard as a result of the two-stroke penalty for playing from the wrong spot.

And to top it all off, it wasn’t an on-course official or someone at the tournament who called the violation, but a TV viewer at home. Here’s how it went down:

Thompson, to her credit, fought back tears over her final six holes, recording three birdies to force a playoff with So Yeon Ryu, but ultimately fell in the playoff, forced to settle for second instead of what should have been a four-stroke victory and a major championship.

Even the greatest golfer of all-time thinks Thompson was robbed!


All because some TV viewer at home with nothing better to do called up the LPGA to report a minor violation. I mean, look at that video again. She moved her ball maybe an inch. If that was you or I on the course, nobody would give a shit about it, and she probably would have been given the putt. Then we would have ordered beers and never thought about such a thing.

But because some crusty old guy who probably thinks young people should “play the game the right way” called in, she lost a title and more than $150,000 in prize money, not exactly a small chunk of change on the LPGA Tour.

Now, I’m not saying she shouldn’t have been penalized, it’s the rules, whatever, I’m more mad that for some reason golf thinks it’s fine to let viewers at home call those violations in.

The LPGA, PGA and whatever other major governing body has rules officials on every hole looking out for these things, and if they don’t call it at the course when it happens, then why the hell should some guy in a chair with HD views that zoom in inches from the ball be able to overrule their powers?

Think about if other sports let this happen, let fans at home call in and call fouls or penalties. The NFL would never finish a game because fans would call in on literally every play with a holding call or some other penalty. Hockey, same thing, the game would end when all 20 guys on each team were in the penalty box. And baseball, good Lord, they were be calling in to complain and argue with every pitch, especially when channels have that pitch tracker box that shows if the ball hit what the supposed strike zone is.

It’s also outrageous that Thompson penalized THE NEXT DAY! Not during the round when the penalty was committed and could have limited her penalty to two strokes instead of four, not after the round that same day, but more than 24 hours later. That’s bullshit.

Again, think of if in any other sport someone called in a foul or penalty the next day and completely changed the outcome of the event. I’m sure Oklahoma State fans wish that was possible, but it’s not. If you don’t call it or enforce it when it happens, move on. It’s over.

Golf already has a reputation of being no fun, and an old, rich person’s game. Letting people at home call insanely minor infractions like that doesn’t help that reputation in any way.

Shit, golf fans are the same people who called in and complained the CBS was using fake bird noises to add the ambiance of the course. WHO FUCKING CARES?

So way to go LPGA and golf fans at home, you broke some poor golfer’s heart, took away a championship victory, and cost her more than $150,000. I hope you feel good about that. Because it sucks that golf lets fans do that, and it needs to stop.




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