The start of Masters week has been slightly overshadowed by the drama involving Lexi Thompson in the first women's major of the year.

World number eight Rickie Fowler has been pressed in his media conference to open the week at Augusta National on the incident that curtailed Thompson's push towards her second ANA Inspiration title.

The golfing world is abuzz with debate over whether the four-stroke penalty handed down to Thompson in the final round was justified. The incident of Thompson placing her ball slightly away from where she marked it actually occurred in the third round, but only came to light about a third of the way through the final round when a fan emailed the LPGA Tour to inform them. It meant Thompson was handed a two-stroke penalty for the infraction and an additional two-stroke penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard.

She lost in an eventual playoff to Korea's So Yeon Ryu.


When asked about his take on the incident, Fowler was set in the view that something needs to change and fast.

"We've seen some stuff in the past year that's not making the game look very good at all," he began. "There's no other sport where people can call or email officials regarding an issue. It was really unfortunate to see how it was handled. Coming 24 hours after the fact, things should be handled the day of. Once you sign your scorecard, that's kind of it."

Fowler continued with a fairly frank view that the practice of fans influencing a rule needed to be stopped.

"There's no question it should be ended. I don't think you could find one player who would say otherwise," he said, calling for an introduction of a new official.

"If there's an official always monitoring video or anything on camera, that's fine. I have no problem if it's an official. There shouldn't be any outside contact, whether it's emails or phone calls, whatsoever."

It appears the players are already pushing towards a change, with the American indicating a backlash from those on the men's tour.

"I'm sure there's already been some sort of push from yesterday," Fowler said. "I think it's been an ongoing problem, it's been talked about for years and I'm surprised it hasn't been changed."