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PGA Tour studying validity of fans calling in penalties

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

This penalty might cause the PGA Tour to change its rules. (USATSI)
This penalty might cause the PGA Tour to change its rules. (USATSI)

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This will be a big relief to a lot of you.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem noted on Tuesday that the PGA Tour is reviewing the process by which fans and, well, anyone watching a tournament, really, can call in penalties on golfers when they see those penalties on TV or in person at the event.

This on the heels of the weird two-stroke penalty Tiger Woods was assessed at the BMW Championship last week after a videographer filmed his ball rotating as he tried to move some loose debris.

Bob Harig of ESPN wrote a piece on this and in it Finchem still sounded pretty torn on the issue. The advancement of technology (such as HD TVs) in the last decaded has contributed to that.

"It feels awkward when it happens,'' said Finchem about the Woods incident, which only came to light because a PGA Tour camera crew was filming the golfer. "On the other hand, I hate to say it's part of the tradition of the game because actually you can't really argue that because it's changed with the degree of television we have. I think we need to do some more thinking about it. I think people in the game need to think about it.''

Brandt Snedker chimed in with Finchem in saying he thinks it's gone a little bit too far.

"At some point you have to draw a line and stop it,'' PGA Tour player Brandt Snedeker said. "I don't know where that is ... I don't think fans should be able to call in and dictate the outcome of a tournament.''

The flip side of all of this is that if you don't let people call in and nobody at a tournament sees a penalty but a fan at home does, that video eventually ends up on the Internet and likely on this very blog.

Then you'll have this tidal wave of Internet discussion of whether or not a guy won a tournament fairly or legally.

The whole thing is quite a mess.

All of this, of course, mainly stems from Woods' two-stroke penalty at the 2013 Masters when he incorrectly dropped his ball on the 15th hole during the second round of play.

One thing I do think they should change is the rule that if you sign your scorecard incorrectly and then it's proven that you should have been penalized, you get disqualified. That's total silliness and I'm glad Woods didn't get booted from the Masters even though I still think, according to the rules, he should have.

I'm interested to see where this goes -- it feels like it'll be the next big post-anchored putters debate in the game of golf.

I tend to fall on the side of letting folks call in and question things and then letting the film determine what happened -- just because the player didn't see it doesn't mean it didn't actually happen. And if something happened then a golfer should, indeed, be penalized.

But as I said above, I totally disagree with the disqualification portion of the rule.

Maybe I'm in the minority, though. I'm sure none of you have a spirited opinion you'll share in the comments section below!

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

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