The PGA Tour is the biggest tour in professional golf. Its marquee events are covered with dozens of camera men and course-side commentators and watched by millions of golf fans throughout the world. While this is also standard for other major sporting events, golf maintains a unique quirk: it allows anyone to alert match officials of potential penalties. That means that any of the viewers at home can directly influence a tournament by spotting and reporting an infraction.
Reporting an Infraction
If you are certain you have spotted a rule violation, the PGA tour suggests fans contact them by using the feedback link on the PGA Tour website. In addition, fans can also contact officials on twitter @PGATOUR.
The issue of fairness comes up when discussing fans calling in rules violations. Those who feel fans should not be able to call in infractions point out that the more famous players enjoy the majority of television coverage and should not have to deal with extra scrutiny that other players do not face. Those who defend the practice believe that the integrity of the game demands that all rules be followed at all times. They view it as the duty of all golfers and golf fans to enforce all the rules of golf.
Tiger Woods was docked 2 strokes at the 2013 Masters when he took a drop a few yards away from his original shot.
During the 2017 ANA Inspiration, one of the LPGA Tour's major championships, Lexi Thompson was given a 4 stroke penalty for accidentally replacing her ball about an inch from the correct location on a 1-foot putt. A viewer spotted this and called the tournament organizers to report the infraction. Without the penalty, Thompson would have won the tournament. Instead, she faced a a playoff which she ultimately lost.