TV viewer robs professional golfer of major win

John Paul Czerwinski, Assistant Sports Editor

A very extraordinary situation unfolded at the ANA inspiration LPGA tournament in Rancho Mirage California on April 2.

Golfer Lexi Thompson received a four-stroke penalty for a 1-inch ball placement error, and an incorrect scorecard.

The extraordinary part of the situation was that the penalty came to the LPGA’s attention the next day, by a tip sent via e-mail by a television viewer at home. The penalty occurred on hole 17 of day three, when Thompson incorrectly placed her ball an inch away from her marker on a mere one-foot putt. But the penalty wasn’t enforced until hole 13 of day four.

Thompson had a three stroke lead at the time, which was wiped away as she was told about the infraction on the way to the tee-box of hole 13.

When Thompson was informed of the infraction she was noticeably overcome with emotions of anger and frustration.

“Is this a joke?” Thompson initially responded.

After Thompson realized this nightmare was indeed a reality, she managed to somehow birdie hole 13 despite having her emotions drive her to tears. She then managed two birdies and only one bogey in her final five holes.

Thompson’s tear-filled final five holes, which included a potential eagle putt on 18 to win the tournament, ended up being good enough to force a one-hole playoff with So Yeon Ryu.

Ryu eventually won the playoff and Thompson was ultimately snubbed of a major victory by somebody at home watching from their couch and stuffing potato chips into their mouth.

It is easy to share Thompson’s frustration, seeing as each group of golfers is followed by a rules official every hole for the tournament. The penalty originally went unnoticed by the rules official, but some person sitting on their couch at home had the nerve to alert the LGPA and cost Thompson an illustrious major victory.

Needless to say, Thompson will be extra-careful next time she marks her ball, and the LPGA failed her in this situation, yet she still nearly won.