USGA-R&A Video Review Decision: Golfers React

April 2, 2017; Rancho Mirage, CA, USA; Lexi Thompson before her putt on the eighteenth green during the final round of the ANA Inspiration golf tournament at Mission Hills CC - Dinah Shore Tournament Cou. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
April 2, 2017; Rancho Mirage, CA, USA; Lexi Thompson before her putt on the eighteenth green during the final round of the ANA Inspiration golf tournament at Mission Hills CC - Dinah Shore Tournament Cou. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

The USGA-R&A Rules of Golf Decision 34-3/10 is dominating golf news this week.

Have the USGA and the R&A – the co-arbiters of the infamous, cherished, and arcane 34 Rules of Golf that govern every aspect of the game – actually devised a remedy to the pesky tendency of armchair officials calling (or emailing) in potential violations?

Does Decision 34-3/10 really resolve the problem that upended Anna Nordqvist’s bid for the 2016 US Women’s Open championship and then – although we all know that lightening never strikes twice – kneecapped Lexi Thompson during her final dash toward Poppy’s Pond and a 2nd ANA Inspiration title?

Nordqvist and Thompson are only the most recent victims of after-the-fact video-replay rules violations. Remember the dilemma of Tiger’s ball at the 2013 BMW Championship: did it move or did it merely oscillate? His 2-stroke penalty came only after careful review of a high-def slow-mo video replay.

The Woods and Nordqvist decisions certainly raised eyebrows but the Lexi Thompson decision fueled outraged protests across the spectrum of players and fans.  As Cristie Kerr so delicately put it, “everyone’s pissed off.”

Indeed, the rumblings about video-based rules violations decisions before the Lexi Thompson decision were transformed into an outright explosion of incredulous outrage. The USGA and the R&A had no choice but to address the problem. Decision 34-3/10 is designed to do so, but did it?

If Twitter constitutes a viable gauge of public opinion, Decision 34-3/10 is a case of half-measures. While the LPGA official statement regarding the Decision, which becomes effective immediately, is predictably supportive, others remain critical.

In my sampling of the Twitterstorm that has followed Decision 34-3/10, Mark Smith probably reflects the sentiments of many who play the game.

Jake identifies one of the critical flaws in the Decision, which remains silent on the question of call-ins.

Mark Kaspar agrees with Jake and echoes the issue raised by a number of players in their media interviews at The Masters – when is a recorded score actually the final score?

BradTheCommish also sees the flaws.

Greg agrees.

Anna Nordqvist continues to be graceful in her defeat that came from that video review of her club moving a few grains of sand in that bunker at CordeValle, but even her silence going forward is not likely to quiet the waters that have been stirred up by the Lexi Thompson incident.

Next: Dustin Johnson Looking Good for US Open

What’s your opinion on Decision 34-3/10. Have the USGA and the R&A found a way through the thorny problem of rules violations decisions made complicated by advancements in technology? My own though is that Decision 34-3/10 is a starting point but is not likely to provide full guidance on how the game should manage technological advances going forward.