Like most Americans, I am not one to follow anything to do with golf unless it involves Tiger Woods, so why am I writing about Lexi Thompson? This is all Tiger’s fault because had he not tweeted his opinion about the penalty accessed to Lexi, a four stroke one at that, I might not have paid any attention to it.
On Saturday, Thompson marked her ball on the green like many golfers do and then committed the horrific crime of failing to place it back in the exact spot. She claims it was not intentional and I believe her only for the reason she plays a sport where golfers turn themselves in when they violate their rules. What other sport does this?
Having thought she got away with the crime of the century, Lexi continued on her way to a comfortable two stroke lead on Sunday, at which point Columbo the fan steps in. Apparently it is okay for any of us with a DVR to watch Saturday’s round on Sunday and spot a rules violation and then be allowed to contact the tournament officials about it. No, really, you can do this, but only in golf or when you find out after the fact your 15 year old daughter is dating a 19 year old guy.
Back to Lexi. She is cruising along, has a comfortable lead on the 12th hole on SUNDAY when she is informed by officials she has been given a four stroke penalty for her disgracing the rules of golf on SATURDAY. I am pretty sure I saw Magic Johnson commit a foul on Larry Bird in the playoffs that went uncalled. Is it too late to take a title away from the Lakers and give it to the more deserving Celtics?
Golf is supposed to be a game where composure is vital to striking the ball. Believe me, if I could strike a ball as well as I strike the nearest tree trunk in anger with my six iron, I might still play the game. So how the hell do officials expect Thompson to keep her composure when she suddenly goes from two strokes up to two strokes down with just a few holes to play?
Did I also mention I saw Jerry Kramer move a tad early just before he drove through Jethro Pugh so Bart Starr could score the game winner in the Ice Bowl? However, I don’t mind because I wanted the Packers to win that game.
Thompson was so upset, she could be seen crying on the 13th hole which means while there is no crying allowed in baseball, it is allowed in golf just as long as your tears do not create a water hazard for the foursome playing behind you. Can you blame her? What sport lets viewers report violations of the game and then have a penalty assessed 24 hours after the fact? Whatever happened to, “No harm, no foul,” or “Swallowing the whistle,” and my personal favorite, “If you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying?”
For Lexi, it cost her a victory, but not before pulling even and losing in a playoff. At least I think she lost, but that could all change again today, or tomorrow, or next year depending on when Matlock gets to the final round on his DVR.
In the NFL, when officials screw up and miss calls, they are the ones penalized, not the players. The difference is, in the NFL, the game unfolds at warp speed while golf is more like watching paint dry. It is only natural to expect NFL officials to catch every mistake when surrounded by 22 giants jacked up on Red Bull and amphetamines. But golf, now that’s a sport where things really happen and officials have a lot on their plate.
So now we have a sport where any Tom, Dick, or Harry can rat out a player for a minor breech of rules. Shouldn’t golf go public and thank the little prick for doing this just so we can put a face to this travesty? Maybe there is a little dirt this viewer has on him, you know, like an IRS form he lied on, a wife he cheated on, or something really big like that time he got undercharged at the grocery store and didn’t self report.
Thanks a lot to Tiger Woods as well. What are you doing watching women play golf anyway? Shouldn’t you be rehabbing your back, spending time with the kids, or walking your neighborhood and reporting homes out of compliance with your HOA?
I could go on with a longer rant, but you will understand why I don’t. I am in the middle of building an unapproved structure in the backyard. Forgive the noise violations that go with it. At least it drowns out the sound of the too many dogs I am permitted to have.
Top photo: Lexi Thompson at the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, CA (YouTube)