Rules farce mars the opening women's major of the year

Ross Houston
April 10, 2017

Thompson ended up losing in a playoff as social media went insane with those upset with the LPGA.

Thompson, who won her only major at the same event in 2014, said she was proud of the way she battled back.

Thompson was still in disbelief after the round, but she handled everything with as much class as you would expect.

"What happened was not intentional at all - I would never do that purposely and I hope everyone knows that", Thompson said.

The organisation confirmed the video review was prompted by an email from a television viewer in a statement issued on Sunday evening.

The American, a victor at Mission Hills Country Club in 2014, was hit with a four-shot penalty after being reported by an eagle-eyed television viewer for incorrectly replacing a marked ball in Saturday's third round.

The four stroke penalty - two for the incorrect ball placement and two for signing an incorrect score card - dropped the runaway leader into second place, one shot off the lead. "It's a hard thing to do, and it made me sick to be honest".

The 22-year-old was playing on the back-nine, and after bogeying the 12th hole, she was informed of the four-shot penalty.

"It happens, and I'll learn from it and hopefully I'll do better", Thompson said. I did not mean that. "I didn't even realize I did that".

"Viewers at home should not be officials wearing stripes", the 14-time major champion tweeted as the final round reached its climax. Let's go @Lexi, win this thing anyway.

Tiger Woods led the chorus of golfers calling for TV viewers not to be allowed to influence results.

As she walked off the 12th green, Thompson was approached by LPGA rules officials. Ryu then birdied the 18th, the first playoff hole, to win the title.

"During play, I didn't even check the leaderboard, but I thought Lexi played really, really well".

"I think we've seen some (dramas) in the past year that is not making the game look very good at all". "I did not intentionally do that (violation)". I didn't expect it. That took her from ahead to two shots behind, but Thompson rallied in a remarkable way.

With emotions visible on her face amid loud chants of her name, Thompson gathered herself - and left a 15-foot winning eagle putt inches short.

This was her fourth LPGA victory and her second Major following the 2011 US Women's Open title.

In this Associated Press photo, Ryu So-yeon of South Korea celebrates her victory at the ANA Inspiration tournament on the LPGA Tour with her caddie Tom Watson in Rancho Mirage, California, on April 2, 2017.

"I can not believe the situation". Ryu held the upper hand and claimed her win with a birdie.

Thompson, victor here in 2014, joined four other players - Inbee Park, So Yeon Ryu, Minjee Lee and Pettersen - in a tie for at 13 under with four to play.

Michelle Wie of Honolulu finished sixth in the ANA Inspiration on Sunday, closing with a 3-under-par 69 for an 11-under 277, three shots out of a playoff.

The incident only came to light when a television viewer spotted the offence and informed LPGA officials, who assessed the footage and made a decision to penalise the 2014 champion.

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