The powers to be in the golf world have finally made a decision on an opinion of players and a fair number of fans for a long time: Call-ins, texts, emails, carrier pigeon notes, whatever from fans do not belong in golf.
As of Jan. 1, 2018, that will no longer be just an opinion from golfers and fans alike, it will be a rule.
The USGA and R&A announced the results of a working group put into place back in April after the Lexi Thompson/ANA Inspiration tournament debacle to address viewers calling and e-mailing tournament officials. The recommendation that came back was unanimous. So, as of January 1, 2018, the USGA, R&A, PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, European Tour, PGA of America and all related tours under their respective umbrellas will adopt protocols that:
a) Assign one or more officials to monitor the video broadcast of a competition to help identify and resolve rules issues as they arise, and
b) Discontinue any steps to facilitate or consider viewer call-ins as part of the rules decision process.
Also, the ruling bodies approved the adoption of a local rule to eliminate the additional two-stroke penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard if a player is unaware of the underlying penalty that caused the score to be incorrect. This allows tournament committees to eliminate the scorecard penalty a year early (originally scheduled to be included in the updated Rules of Golf in 2019).