Sunday, April 2, 2017

Lexi Thompson MAJOR Penalty

 Currently happening in the ANA Inspiration we are seeing the first major instance of the application of the new (2016) Exception to Rule 6-6d for signing an incorrect score card. The explanation we are receiving is that Thompson incorrectly replaced her ball on the 17th green during the 3rd round. Rule 16-1b requires the ball to be replaced in the exact same spot. The television evidence revealed that she replaced the ball in a slightly different spot. The penalty for playing from a wrong place in breach of Rule 16-1b is two strokes. Since she signed her score card without the two stroke penalty and she was completely unaware of the penalty at the time, the Exception to Rule 6-6d kicks in.
   The Exception essentially lessened the previous penalty that would have disqualified the player for signing for an incorrect score card.  Since her incorrect score was the result of failing to include a penalty she was unaware of, she is not disqualified but is assessed the penalty she failed to include (two strokes under Rule 16-1b) and an additional two stroke penalty under Rule 6-6d for signing for an incorrect score on the 17th hole.  The result is four total penalty strokes and Thompson is now not leading the the first LPGA major of the season.
   This appears to be an extremely harsh penalty, especially as the result of a video review, but remember that had this occurred in 2015, Thompson would have been disqualified for the incorrect score card.
   On TV it was easily heard that it wasn't intentional, but unfortunately this is not an intent-based Rule. The reality is that she put the ball back in the wrong spot. Was it a significant advantage? No. However, the Rule is written to dissuade the player from the potential advantage that could be gained by replacing the ball in an incorrect position.
    So in summary: On the 17th hole of the third round, Thompson incorrectly replaced her ball on the putting green and as a result played from a wrong place in breach of Rule 16-1b. She signed a score card without that penalty included because she was unaware of it. Since the breach was discovered prior to the close of competition, the Committee is required to apply the Exception to Rule 6-6d which means that they added the two-stroke penalty that wasn't included in her score yesterday, and an additional two-stroke penalty for signing for an incorrect score - a total of four penalty strokes.
   If Thompson comes back and manages to win, it will highlight how extremely significant the new Exception really is, because prior to 2016 she would've been disqualified from the competition for the same situation.