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PGA Tour will reconsider viewers calling in rules violations

September 17, 2013|By David Wharton

Tattletales may no longer be quite as much welcomed by the PGA Tour.

Four days after videotape caught Tiger Woods violating a rule at the BMW Championship, Commissioner Tim Finchem said that officials will review the increasingly common practice of players' being ratted out by video evidence and television viewers.

Speaking with reporters before the Tour Championship in Atlanta, Finchem characterized such incidents as occasionally "awkward."

In particular, officials could consider whether there should be a time limit for reporting violations and whether a player should be disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard if  wrongdoing comes to light after the fact.

"It’s not an easy argument one way or another," Finchem said. "It’s cumbersome and difficult and awkward sometimes. On the other hand, sometimes it's pretty interesting to the fans."

The Rules of Golf allow for spectators to report violations and for television footage to be used in resolving questions of fair play.

In Woods' case, videotape showed that his ball moved slightly as he was removing debris from the area. A videographer working for the PGA Tour caught the infraction on camera and it was noticed by an editor.

At the Masters this year, a television viewer -- who also happened to be a golfer on the Champions tour -- called in to report that Woods had taken an improper drop.

Both instances resulted in a two-stroke penalty.

Golf has always liked to think of itself as an honest game, with competitors calling fouls on themselves. But Finchem wonders about the increasing infringement of technology.

"I hate to say it's part of the tradition of the game because actually you can't really argue that because it's changed with the degree of television we have," he said. "I think we need to do some more thinking about it."


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