TV broadcast can be misleading

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In Malaysia earlier this year during the Maybank Championship, we received an email communication through to our website feedback page and through Twitter that viewers had seen Anirban Lahiri take an improper drop on the fourth hole of the second round.

The Chief Referee will normally take this forward and review the situation. Quite by chance, we had a new Chief Referee on duty being guided by the regular Chief Referee. It was decided that we would both visit the TV compound to view what had been broadcast and what had caused the email to come into our feedback channels.

We reviewed the tape several times and it is fair to say that from the picture that was broadcast, it seemed to indicate that an error could have been made by the player. The player’s ball had splashed into a Lateral Water Hazard which he was trying to drive his ball past and from the picture on the TV, it looked as if the ball had not crossed the far bank of the hazard.

We requested a copy on to a hard drive in order to show the coverage to the player and we went to the area on the course where this scene was captured.

We looked at how much visibility a player and his marker could have had of the Lateral Water Hazard from the tee, and then fully surveyed the area where the ball did or did not last cross into the hazard.

We then went to the clubhouse and made sure that we had a working computer to display the incident to the player and his group.

Once all players had entered the recorder’s tent, the acting Chief Referee asked the player about the playing of the tee shot and the position of where a ball was dropped under penalty. Thankfully, the marker, Lee Westwood, was able to confirm that Anirban’s tee shot was badly hooked but certainly did carry the far bank and the ball that was dropped was in the correct place.

Both players watched the clip and Anirban added that the camera used to film the action was the one behind the green which would also have provided a distorted view of the flight of the ball, which again assisted in reaching a ‘no penalty’ verdict. It is always wise to remember that television can only show the pictures in 2 dimensions and therefore can often be misleading.

By John Paramor

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