A tearful Lexi Thompson credited her caddy and fans for helping her get through an emotional roller coaster in the final round of the ANA Inspiration on Sunday after she was hit with a four-shot penalty then lost in a playoff.
Thompson had marked a putt with a coin on the 17th green during her third round Saturday, but replaced the ball perhaps an inch out of position.
No one saw it on Saturday during the round and Thompson completed her round and appeared to be heading to victory on Sunday with a 3 shot lead with 6 holes remaining. After a video review LPGA officials agreed and handed Thompson a 2-stroke penalty for the infraction plus an additional 2-strokes for signing an incorrect scorecard.
"It's unfortunate what happened", she said via CBSSports.com.
"My caddy helped me out tremendously", she said. "I tried to gather myself and I made a great putt at 13", Golf Channel quoted Thompson as saying. I mean, they helped me get through the rest of the round which helped a lot. I'll learn from it.
"I actually sat down late last night and wrote Lexi a letter that I mailed today", Whan said.
Until the 11th hole, Thompson led the field with three shots, but with a bogey on the 12th hole and a penalty she dropped to third, suddenly Ryu was only one shot behind the leader, Suzanne Pettersen of Sweden.
Nevertheless, Thompson recovered her focus and birdied three of the next six holes to force a playoff with So Yeon Ryu. "It's a hard thing to do, and it made me sick, to be honest with you". "She was immediately notified of the breach by LPGA Rules Committee in between holes 12 and 13 of the final round". On top of that, LPGA rules officials were alerted to Thompson's error by a viewer who emailed the tour. "I didn't realise I had done that".
Such a contentious episode unsurprisingly drew a furious reaction on social media, with Tiger Woods among those to issue public support for Thompson and rail against the seemingly preposterous notion that viewers should be able to call in rulings. "I thought, I'm well behind so all I wanted to do was just play and enjoy my game".
She added after the tournament: "I did not intentionally do that, so to the officials or whoever called in, that was not my objective".
Ryu was the lucky beneficiary as she claimed a second major title after making a four in the play-off, but admits her win does not feel right. There's not people sitting at home dictating this or, in this case, having a lot of effect on the outcome of a major.