A bizarre and completely ridiculous situation led to Lexi Thompson finishing as the runner-up instead of the champion at the ANA Inspiration, one of the LPGA’s five majors.

Thompson was assessed a four-shot penalty on Sunday for replacing her ball in an improper spot at the 17th hole, before she made a one-foot putt. She was given a two-stroke penalty for moving the ball and a two-stroke penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard.

However, the infraction took place in the third round on Saturday, and Thompson wasn’t even told about the four-stroke penalty until after she completed the 12th hole during Sunday’s final round. A two-shot lead (at 16-under) after the 12th hole immediately turned into a two-shot deficit for Thompson.

And here’s where the story gets even more absurd: the tournament officials were alerted about the infraction thanks to a TV viewer’s email tip! For real.

Thompson would still manage to force a playoff with against So Yeon Ryu, but lost on the first hole of the sudden-death format.

So, let’s recap:

  1. Thompson was given a four-stroke penalty for something that happened the day before.
  2. She wasn’t even alerted about the penalty until she was nearly done with the tournament, and while she had a two-shot lead.
  3. The tournament officials didn’t even notice the infraction until a TV viewer emailed them.

What a great way to decide a major! Whether or not it should’ve been a penalty is ultimately beside the point. Once we moved on to Sunday, we moved on to Sunday. And a tip from some rando watching on TV should especially not change the previous day’s results.

Thompson was understandably very emotional after the finish:

There has been plenty of reaction to this story from golfers, media members, and celebrities:

And I thought ESPN’s John Anderson really nailed it on SportsCenter:


[Golf Channel; ESPN]

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at mclapp@thecomeback.com.