Lexi Thompson Suffers Another Penalty Flap
If I were of a more superstitious nature and from a more superstitious time, I would recommend sending Lexi Thompson to the local Shaman, Voodoo Priestess, or whatever sort of spiritual healer she feels the closest to. If this were the old, very old days, I might suspect that she’s being followed around by a golf demon with flaming pencil and brimstone clipboard. Perhaps it’s not all that dire. It may just be the Penalty Fairy, grown bored with collecting teeth. Perhaps a smudging or a dip in the River Styx might help. Whatever the solution, this 23 year old world class golfer is wracking up penalty strokes like they’re going out of style, and they are not the normal kind. – water, out of bounds, that sort of thing. The ANA Inspiration debacle doesn’t need to be recounted at great length, but it was doubly weird, two strokes for mishandling a ball on the green, and two more for not knowing about it until the scorer’s tent. I’m afraid if this continues, Lexi will become too afraid to go inside the thing. What are they going to tell me this time? What did I do this time, etc.
Well,this time, the incident took place in Thailand, at the Siam Country Club. Lexi’s ball apparently came to rest very near an advertising sign, and her swing path was not free. Things get tricky about advertising signs, even though I don’t believe they should. On “some” courses, such signs are considered to be temporary but immovable obstructions. On “some others,” they are deemed to be temporary and movable. At the Honda, unfortunately for Lexi, advertising takes precedence over the actual golf, and the sign is considered immovable. It’s not as if the sign can’t be moved, so “immovable” is a misnomer. Lexi moved it so she could take her next shot. There is also the question of her asking about the sign’s status first before moving it. I guess she could have an should have done that. At any rate, in keeping with the habits of whatever golf demon is following her, Lexi didn’t hear about it until she entered the – you guessed it – scorer’s tent. Today, it was only two strokes, which means that she shot a 68 instead of a 66, and is now two strokes further back from the leader.
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The sign in question, and the violation of moving the sacred object falls under the heading of “unconventional penalties.” At first glance, it smacks of “Who cares about golf, get your hands off our sign that’s broadcasting our brand around the world.” I’m sure there’s more to it than that. However, my belief that man-made, non-golf related objects should lose out in every conflict is not going away, even if the advertisement is for the sponsors of the tournament. They should have known better than to put an advertisement anywhere near a spot where Lexi or anyone else could reach it. The tournament should be about the golf, and nothing else. No object should obstruct a golfer but a natural one. It’s another story of the inside bucks trumping the actual event. I’m glad that no Olympic speed skaters ran headlong into a Burma Shave billboard, and that no skier tripped over a coupon booklet strapped to a slalom gate. They probably would have been penalized, not the advertiser. They usually have a bigger bank account than the athlete.
What if a golfer hits and breaks a camera up in the booth? Will the network see that he or she is penalized?Granted, so far the booths have been placed carefully out of play, but who put Lexi’s sign up, and why was she able to reach it? Maybe she should have taken the shot without removing the sign, and blown it to pieces in the process. Would the advertiser prefer that? Please, if there’s anyone out there sticking pins in Lexi Thompson dolls, cut it out. She’s had enough, I’ve had enough, and golf’s had enough. If you sponsor a tournament, great, but get out of the way and let the pros play it.