Lexi Thompson's emotional loss helps spur changes in golf

Las Colinas -- LPGA golfer Lexi Thompson was filled with emotion in her first public comments since a controversial ruling that has helped spur change in the sport of golf.

Midway through her media session at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout, Thompson began crying and sobbing when asked what has been the toughest part of dealing with her loss at LPGA's first major championship of the season.

Las Colinas -- LPGA golfer Lexi Thompson was filled with emotion in her first public comments since a controversial ruling that has helped spur change in the sport of golf.

Midway through her media session at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout, Thompson began crying and sobbing when asked what has been the toughest part of dealing with her loss at LPGA's first major championship of the season.

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At the ANA Inspiration in early April,  a viewer called in alerting officials of a rules violation on a short putt near the end of her third round.

The next day during her final round, Thompson notified that she would be assessed a 4-shot penalty, after a video review. She lost the tournament in a playoff.

April 2, 2017; Rancho Mirage, CA, USA; Lexi Thompson before her putt on the eighteenth green during the final round of the ANA Inspiration golf tournament at Mission Hills CC -  Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

"It's been hard," she said.

Public outcry followed, and in the wake of other similar instances, the USGA and the R&A, golf's governing bodies in the United States and around the world, announced changes this week to limit video review.

Players won't be penalized now for infractions that can't be seen by the naked eye, like Anna Norquist in the 2016 US Women's open. She was penalized for moving a few grains of sand on a bunker shot during the final round.

"A lot of the things that have been called upon you can't see with a naked eye, said touring pro Gerina Piller, who calls nearby Flower Mound home.  "It's been on a 4k HD TV that you have to blow up and magnify."

Another change makes more reasonable rulings that involve locations on the course, like where to drop a golf ball should be dropped after going into a hazard. Golfers won't be held to such an exacting standard in these cases.

"I think any rules that's made to make the game more simple I think is great for the game of golf," said Thompson.

At the VOA Texas Shootout in Irving this week, the rules changes dominated conversation.

"I was relieved to see the changes happen quickly," said Piller. "I think we're moving in the right direction."

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The changes that the USGA and R&A have made signify a major shift in the way professional tours handle video review.  But many golfers here and others in the golf community are convinced this hsould just be the beginning.

Viewer call-ins will still be accepted and most players think they should just go away.

"I think so because we're the only sports that accepts those," said Piller.

Thompson stands to go down in golf history for being the catalyst of these groundbreaking changes.