We’re less than a week removed from Lexi Thompson’s four-stroke penalty for a day-old violation at the ANA Inspiration that crippled her bid for the first major of the season.
Not surprisingly, players at Augusta National are talking about the infraction and the way the LPGA Tour handled things.
“I think Tiger said it best,” Rory McIlroy said. “People at home don’t need to be wearing striped shirts. They don’t need to be calling in and officiating us.”
Rory was referring to Tiger Woods tweet when the whole debacle occurred:
Viewers at home should not be officials wearing stripes. Let’s go @Lexi, win this thing anyway.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) April 3, 2017
Phil Mickelson, speaking with the media at his pre-Masters news conference, indicated he’s seen plenty of players spotting the ball in a cavalier manner.
“I feel like we’ve all kind of been a little lax at times in the marking of our golf ball, and I hate to see it cost somebody a major championship…something that happens all the time, intentionally and unintentionally — I just think it should be reversed. I think that she should be given the trophy.”
While on the subject of unintentional “loose markings,” Mickelson also called out his fellow pros who are a bit more…intentional with their improperly marked balls.
“I know a number of guys on tour that are loose with how they mark the ball and have not been called on it,” Mickelson said. “I mean, they will move the ball two, three inches in front of their mark, and this is an intentional way to get it out of any type of impression and so forth, and I think that kind of stuff needs to stop.”
18-time major champion, Jack Nicklaus offered his perspective as well
“What happened with Lexi, how in the world she did what she did, I don’t have any idea. She had a 12‑inch putt. She certainly wasn’t getting any advantage from it. And I think she just made a mistake. I don’t think she did it on purpose. I don’t think she did anything malicious about anything or trying to cheat.”
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So while the Golden Bear doesn’t think Lexi was trying to cheat, it does seem like he feels it was right to penalize her. Or rather, it would have been right had the penalty been doled out in a timely manner. Regarding call-in rulings and after-the-round penalties, Nicklaus said firmly, “My opinion on that kind of stuff is that once the round is over, and the scorecard is signed, the day is over. That’s my opinion. I mean, that isn’t necessarily what it is. But that’s what I think.”
No, that’s not what it is. However, as everyone in the peanut gallery and on the grounds at Augusta National seems to think, it’s what it ought to be.