Should Video Replay Be Used to Access Rules Infractions? YES – Golf Content Network

Gorman Vs Geary

Should Video Replay Be Used to Access Rules Infractions? YES

video replay

If you’ve been paying attention this summer then you know the answer to this question. What do Dustin Johnson and Anna Nordqvist have in common? Hint: It involves American golf’s governing body, the USGA making separate controversial and baffling rules decisions within a span of 22 days.

On June 19 in the final round of the men’s US Open, Johnson was assessed a one-shot penalty after his round because the “preponderance of evidence” from a high-definition video replay of his pre-putt routine on the 5th green showed his ball wavered. On July 10 in a playoff to determine the women’s US Open champion, Anna Nordqvist was assessed a two-shot penalty because television video showed she accidently touched the sand with her 5-iron before she hit her shot. She lost the prestigious title to Brittany Lang.

The USGA has had a pretty rough go of things recently, having banned the use of anchored putters, which made a lot of golfers like me angry. A few years ago, for the first time ever in golf history, a penalty was assessed to a player based on a viewer calling into PGA offices to complain. Now, in the case with DJ, ranked No. 2 in the world, we have the USGA doing the unfathomable on its biggest stage, taking almost two hours and six holes of play to inform Johnson that he might be assessed a one-shot penalty because high-definition video footage showed his ball shaking while he addressed it on the 5th green.

Rory McIlroy called the situation “amateur hour.” Jordan Spieth said it was a “joke.” Rickie Fowler called it “laughable” and there is no reason to disagree. The situation should have been handled differently by the USGA but technology has intruded into high-level, televised golf. It has replaced the practicality and spirit of the rules with microscopic, super slow-motion high definition replays to try to prove a point. If someone is cheating we want to see it clearly on replay and call a penalty. What should have happened in Johnson’s case is that a rules official walking with the \group should have been consulted and if that official gave the okay that no penalty was committed then “Voila” that’s it.

But golf is a sport that loves its rules and it has a history of strict interpretation and adherence to all of them, and rules which I agree with one-hundred percent, no exceptions. In 1968 we witnessed Roberto DeVincenzo sign an incorrect scorecard and lose The Masters. In the 2010 PGA Championship we saw Dustin Johnson miss a playoff because he grounded his club in a bunker on the 72nd hole. Incredible, heart-wrenching and dramatic moments but the USGA must call out players who violate the rules. They have to take immediate action to disqualify a player who fails to abide by them, despite the criticism and potential embarrassment.

In the case of Anna Nordqvist, the USGA make the proper ruling assessing a two-shot penalty, which was confirmed by use of high-definition video replay. In some cases in golf tournaments, video reply is required and necessary to make the correct decision, although a time limit should be imposed, like one-hole or 20 minutes.

The USGA’s summer scorecard reads 0 – 2 with clumsy rules situations which have overshadowed two national championships. Call USGA officials obnoxious or ingrates or you-fill-in-the-blank but I believe we need golf’s governing body to enforce the rules and to call out world-class players who might show indifference or ignorance. Video cameras and instant replays are here and golf had better get used to it in future high-profile events.

Tom Gorman has been a golf writer since 1992 and has observed bad officiating in golf and many other sports.

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