Lexi Thompson -- shown here at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic in January 2018 on Paradise Island -- says she's still haunted by a rules violation that cost her a title last yearLexi Thompson -- shown here at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic in January 2018 on Paradise Island -- says she's still haunted by a rules violation that cost her a title last year (AFP Photo/ANDY LYONS)
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Los Angeles (AFP) - One year on, world number two Lexi Thompson admits she's still haunted by the controversial rules violation that cost her a victory at the ANA Inspiration last year.
Thompson was docked four strokes for replacing her ball in the wrong spot after marking it during the third round -- and eventually lost the first major of the year to South Korean Ryu So-yeon.
"That night was extremely rough," Thompson said Tuesday, two days before teeing it up in the 2018 edition of the tournament at Rancho Mirage, California.
"I was screaming, crying. I had nightmares about it and I still occasionally do. It has been rough. I stayed off social media after that because media was blowing it up and making me feel terrible.
"I had to let it go and let time pass."
Thompson was on the 13th tee in the final round last year and leading by three shots when she was informed of the four-stroke penalty -- based on a phone call from a member of the public who had spotted Thompson replacing her ball in the wrong spot the day before.
She was docked two shots for the wrongly replaced ball and a further two for signing an incorrect scorecard.
The incident prompted a global rule change limiting video evidence that has been called the 'Lexi rule'.
Now players can't be penalized for an infraction that can't be seen with the naked eye. And they can't be penalized for signing an incorrect scorecard if they were not aware it was wrong.
Thompson, whose nine LPGA victories include one major title, approves of the change, and she's ready to move on.
"I'm just happy the rule changed so nobody else can be put through what I was put through last year," she said. "Everybody just needs to let it go."
- Focused Ryu -
Ryu also wants to move on. She defeated Thompson in a one-hole playoff for the title amid the uproar.
"The thing was, I was not the one in charge of taking care of all the ruling kind of situation," Ryu said.
"All I had to do was only what I can do. So what I can do is keep playing golf, stay focused on each shot, each hole, and just seeing the tournament instead of seeing the hassles."
Ryu said her ability to focus and win boosted her confidence for the rest of the year.
"I feel like after I'd done the tournament, I learned a lot through the situation," she said. "I feel like I also got confidence in myself so I could control myself."
Ryu went on to win another tournament in 2017 and reach number one in the world rankings.
Despite the heartbreak, Thompson went on to win twice, even as she coped with her mother's battle with cancer and the death of her grandmother.
"It was a tough year on and off the golf course for me last year, but it was definitely some of the best golf I played," she said.
"I don't know honestly how I played that good of golf with how much I had on my mind and with how much was going on, especially with my mom, and then towards the end with the passing of my grandmother.
"It was a lot to deal with."