For Immediate Release January 30, 2018
WGA addresses the use of video replay in determining player penalties
Organization outlaws video replay in order to protect the integrity of golf
LAS VEGAS. Today, the Western Golf Alliance Board of Directors announced a decision to address the various penalty-related issues that have plagued the professional tours. With the USGA and R&A finally adopting "protocols" for using video to monitor and evaluate play, the WGA has correctly addressed this issue. The use of video replay, either by officials or phone-in observations from television viewers during any WGA event, is outlawed. This rule applies to all 2018 Tour Series rounds and the Western Golf Alliance Open.
"The Western Golf Alliance is an organization of honesty and integrity, and we are also an organization that leads the entire golf industry in one commodity that is apparently in short supply ... common sense," said Peter McGarry, WGA president, from the Arai Resort and Casino. "We play golf in real time. The use of technology has a place in golf. That place is not, however, in the hands of outsiders to second-guess minute issues that have no impact on the outcome of any shot or round."
This action is a direct response to various issues on the pro tours. The most famous recent incidents involved Dustin Johnson's oscillating ball at the US Open, and Lexi Thompson's mis-marking a ball by an eighth of an inch and being penalized a full day later. In all cases, the issue was both about the nature of the rules, and enforcement of those rules. Poor rules - like the speed of the greens creating unrealistic conditions that cause balls to move for no reason - need to be addressed. However, the rules already address the role and authority of both on-course referees and the golfer's own judgment. ALL use of video is contrary to those rules.
The new protocols - created by the governing bodies along with the various tours - do not nearly go far enough in correcting the nonsense created by video coverage. They still allow room for an outside official who is not on-scene with the players to monitor video and television coverage, which is unbalanced with regards which players are scrutinized. The idea that any person can call into question the established on-course policies and practices is simply inane. It was absolutely necessary for any reasonable and responsible golf organization to establish policies that forbid this moronic practice. (The WGA has always had a rule allowing for correction of wrong scorecards, whether or not the card is incorrect due to a math error or penalty.)
"Unlike the PGA and LPGA tours, and the USGA and R&A, we know the use of high definition, slow motion replay, watched by armchair officials, be they ordained to do so or drinking beer at home, has no place whatsoever in deciding golf competitions," concluded McGarry. "Any golf organization - I repeat, ANY golf organization - that has not completely addressed this and forbid this practice is a complete farce and should be forced to resign their commission as an organization that safeguards any aspect of the great game of golf."
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About the Western Golf Alliance: The Western Golf Alliance is the premier golf organization in the United States. The WGA exists to further the greatness of this grand sport of golf through the improvement of golf play by its members, the promotion of golf rules, etiquette, and tradition, and the ability to gather together from time to time for golf events and tournaments. The regional organization spans five western states, and is organized into nine geographic regions. Further information is available at http://www.westerngolf.org/.