Thompson avoids Women’s Open penalty

By Ali Stafford

Last Updated: 21/08/20 4:19pm








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Lexi Thompson received no punishment from the R&A after moving grass near her ball at the AIG Women’s Open, but should she have been penalised?

Lexi Thompson received no punishment from the R&A after moving grass near her ball at the AIG Women’s Open, but should she have been penalised?

World No 10 Lexi Thompson suffered an early exit from the AIG Women’s Open despite avoiding being penalised for an incident from her first round.

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Thompson followed an opening-round 78 with a four-over 75 in strong winds at Royal Troon to slip to 11-over the week, seeing her miss the cut in the first women’s major of the year.

The American received lots of criticism on social media after footage emerged from her opening round, where Thompson moved a tuft of grass next to her ball ahead of the playing her second shot at the par-four 16th.

Thompson mixed two birdies with three bogeys and a triple-bogey on Friday Thompson mixed two birdies with three bogeys and a triple-bogey on Friday

Thompson mixed two birdies with three bogeys and a triple-bogey on Friday

Thompson used the head of her club to push grass away but the wind then blew it back to its original position, with the R&A adjudging that the lie of the ball had not been improved and that a penalty was not required.

In a statement, the R&A said: “Yesterday, 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.

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“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 restricts what a player may do to improve any “conditions affecting the stroke” for the next stroke they will make, while Thompson declined to speak to the media after her second round.

Thompson's only major victory to date is at the 2012 ANA Inspiration Thompson's only major victory to date is at the 2012 ANA Inspiration

Thompson’s only major victory to date is at the 2012 ANA Inspiration

Thompson was famously given a four-shot penalty during the final round of the ANA Inspiration in 2017 for an incident from the previous day’s play.

The infringement was only spotted when a television viewer alerted LPGA officials via e-mail, with Thompson penalised for incorrectly replacing the ball and signing for a wrong scorecard.

Watch the AIG Women’s Open throughout the weekend live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Saturday from 2pm on Sky Sports Golf and the Sky Sports YouTube channel.

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