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Today, the USGA issued a rules review that limits the use of video evidence: http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/articles/2017/04/new-rules-of-golf-decision-limits-use-of-video-review.html
I commend the USGA on realizing that this is indeed an issue and acting quickly to revise the rules accordingly. However, they aren’t getting rid of video evidence, they’re just “limiting” it – specifically in two ways:
1. When Video Evidence Reveals Things that Could Not Reasonably be Seen with the Naked Eye.
2. When a Player has Made a Reasonable Judgment.
If either of these conditions are met, then the committee will not assess a penalty. But, the big issue here (in relation to the Lexi situation) is that THE COMMITTEE IS STILL MEETING AND MAKING A RULING AFTER RECEIVING EVIDENCE THE DAY AFTER FROM SOME UNKNOWN SOURCE. There is no attention to “timeline of events.”
“…the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted even if later shown to be wrong by the use of video evidence.” DEFINE LATER. The next day? The next hole?
“…if the Committee concludes that such facts could not reasonably have been seen with the naked eye and the player was not otherwise aware of a potential breach of the Rules, the player will be deemed not to have breached the Rules…” WHEN ARE THEY CONCLUDING??
We need a definitive time-schedule when dealing with intricate rulings such as these. It is not agreed on at this point what the best way to go about this is. How can we make sure that if a shot is incorrectly played, that it is taken care of before the next shot?
An idea making rounds online is for a rules official to watch the broadcast. But replays and even “live” action is not shown immediately. And how long would it take to raise the alarm and “meet” about it? The player is already one hole removed from the situation. No going back.
It should be left up to the players themselves and rules officials on the course. It’s their responsibility. When a shot is played, a hole finished, a scorecard signed, that’s it. It’s in the record books. Changing it after the players walk away from the scoring tent is unacceptable. Golf is too much of a nuanced game to let rulings go past the next shot – it doesn’t only effect the player in question, but the integrity of the whole field and tournament itself.