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Beem wants rule change after Thompson's belated penalty

 

By Phil Casey

Former US PGA champion Rich Beem believes a time limit should be imposed on television viewers reporting rules infractions following the controversial end to the ANA Inspiration.

American Lexi Thompson was leading by three shots during the final round when she was informed by officials she would be penalised for an incident which took place the previous day.

Thompson was penalised two strokes for incorrectly replacing a marked ball on the 17th green and another two for signing an incorrect scorecard, thereby dropping her a shot off the lead.

The 22-year-old regrouped superbly to birdie the 13th and the 18th to force a play-off with Korea's So Yeon Ryu, who won the title on the first extra hole.

A television viewer had alerted LPGA officials to the incident via email, but not until the final round at Mission Hills Country Club was well under way.

"Granted there was a rules infraction there, but isn't there some sort of time limit on that? It was insane," Beem said.

"As a professional golfer I was absolutely taken aback by what's going on. How is this in the spirit of the game, how is this fair?

"To penalise her the two strokes and then two for signing an incorrect scorecard... you talk about following the letter of the law and they did, but did they do it in the spirit of the game? Not even close.

"You feel for her. I thought it was atrocious. I don't understand how you can penalise someone four strokes... there's got to be a time limit."

Thompson said: "It is unfortunate. I wasn't expecting what happened. I will learn from it."

Explaining the incident, the LPGA released a statement which read: "On Sunday, the LPGA received an email from a television viewer, saying that Lexi Thompson did not properly replace her ball prior to putting out on the 17th hole. The claim was quickly investigated.

"She was immediately notified of the breach."

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