Winning a major is the pinnacle achievement for any professional golfer. Lexi Thompson had a strong lead heading into the back nine on Sunday, and looked certain to hold off her opponents to win the ANA Inspiration tournament. That is, until a fan emailed the LPGA and ruined her day.
One eagle-eyed viewer, who apparently has too much time on his (or her) hands, emailed the LPGA through the fan feedback link on the organization’s website, claiming that Thompson incorrectly marked and replaced her ball on the 17th hole during her Saturday round. After reviewing footage of the incident, a tournament official ruled that Thompson would be penalized two strokes for incorrectly replacing a marked ball. And two more strokes for signing an incorrect scorecard (which she couldn’t possibly know at the time).
“Is this a joke?” Thompson asked the rules official, according to Golf.com. “This is ridiculous.”
With that, Thompson’s lead was eliminated and she would go on to lose the tournament in a playoff. She still finished second, but the difference was worth roughly $150,000 in prize money, plus the ability to be called a champion.
Here’s a clip of the incident:
— GOLF.com (@GOLF_com) April 3, 2017
“It’s unfortunate what happened,” Thompson said, according to ESPN. “I did not mean that at all. I didn’t realize I did that. I felt strong through the finish, and it was great to see the fans behind me.”
Golf fans in general are pretty upset about this whole thing, especially since Thompson wasn’t informed of the penalty until almost 24 hours later. Even if the initial two-stroke penalty was valid, according to the rules, the second two-stroke penalty became impossible to avoid for Thompson unless the rule officials could tell her before she signed her third round scorecard on Saturday.
Meanwhile, if you like watching golf, please for the love of God, don’t call and tell on people. It’s ridiculous.