Thompson’s Royal Troon ruling not a first for the American

Bernie McGuire

Lexi Thompson (Photo by Richard Heathcote/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

Not for the first time in her career, American Lexi Thompson is in trouble with golf’s ruling bodies.

The latest episode took place on the 16th hole during round one of the AIG Women’s Open at Royal Troon.

TV footage clearly showed Thompson seeking to improve her lie in the rough; if it had happened in any medal outing at any golf club around the world, it would’ve been seen to be breaking the Rules of Golf.


But not according to the R&A after reviewing the incident.

‘So, how come? ‘ we hear you screaming.

TV footage clearly showed Thompson using her club to move aside grass that had blown onto her ball but in attempting to move the grass aside, the wind brought the grass back onto her ball.

The R&A commented Friday on the incident, stating: “Yesterday (Thursday), as part of its normal TV review procedures, The R&A viewed Lexi Thompson’s actions prior to playing her second shot at the 16th hole in round one of the AIG Women’s Open.

“Following a discussion between Chief Referee David Rickman and the player prior to her signing her scorecard, it was determined that, although the player had moved a growing natural object behind her ball, it had returned to its original position. Therefore, the lie of the ball was not improved and there was no breach of Rule 8.1.”

Rule 8.1 relates to “Player’s Actions That Improve Conditions Affecting the Stroke and for more detail click on:-

It does raise the question that surely the act of Thompson seeking to gain advantage by moving the ‘growing natural object’ in the first place must be in breach of the rules?

What if you’re playing in a Saturday medal round at your own club – does it mean if your ball comes to rest under a ‘growing natural object’ you can go ahead and lift the ‘growing natural object’ but then as long as you return it before playing your shot, you’ve not breached the rules?

Sadly for Thompson, she has form and it’s not a first time she has found herself at the centre of controversy in a major championship.

During the 2017 ANA Inspiration, she was penalised four shots after first placing her marker to the side of her ball but then returning her ball to in front of the marker at the 17th hole during her third round

The incident had been spotted by a TV viewer.

It meant Thompson was penalised for replacing the ball incorrectly and signing an incorrect scorecard.

Thompson was in tears ahead of losing out in a play-off with American commentator Judy Ranking bizarrely praising Thompson for her handling of the matter when she clearly was caught out cheating.

A leading US-based golf magazine is understood to have had video evidence of Thompson allegedly previously marking her ball to the side and then returning her ball in a manner she did at the ANA from prior LPGA events.

What did you make of the incident?


Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!

More News

2 responses to “Thompson’s Royal Troon ruling not a first for the American”

  1. Henry Jones avatar
    Henry Jones


  2. Rob Hendrikx avatar
    Rob Hendrikx

    Like you said:
    1) It’s not the first time she’s broken the rules. She is basically the Patrick Reed of women’s golf.
    2) The reaction of the rules committee is ridiculous. The grass did NOT return to its original position. But even if it had, the mere action of trying to move the grass is a violation.
    Golf is a sport of integrity, you are your own referee. Yeah, right!

Leave a comment

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy & Terms of Service apply.