I've kinda meandered away from my original thought on this issue. Although, admittedly, in principle I'm still anti-viewer call-ins, primarily because it places a much higher level of scrutiny on those playing during non-televised times versus the afternoon players who are covered.
But I guess the primary reason is this > as much as I hate to see a tournament impacted because of a delay in potential rules infraction reporting/administering, it's still a lot less of a slippery slope than waking up Monday morning and reading/seeing/hearing about a rules infraction that was not administered that potentially could've/ would've changed the outcome of a tournament in the end.
In my mind, the only practical solution is that the respective tours start implementing a tour rules official to scrutinize the same coverage seen on television to the masses, every single minute of the telecast. Because our media these days, including sports media, are controversy-driven. That's what they're wanting... they want the sensational storyline creating endless controversy, they want the hits and clicks on Monday mornings when there's very little else to write/talk about. And let's face it - golf is a really fucking boring sport to cover. What makes bigger headlines on Monday? "Lexi Thompson wins another major by 5 strokes" or "Lexi Thompson's win suddenly shrouded in controversy because of an obvious rules penalty that went undisclosed."
I don't think this benefits either the player or the game in this instance.
Now, mind you, I'm not a fan of the timeliness of viewer call-ins. Which, in my opinion, is why a rules official should be designated in every event to scrutinize the players during the telecast. Of course, it's still not fair to the players who played in the morning rounds who weren't on television. I get that, I've already stated that it's a raw deal. But still... it's just the product of how the game is covered and the network airtime. That's not gonna change for obvious reasons.
Here's the interesting aspect in all of this - this rule change ultimately had less to do with Lexi Thompson's situation (since it was reasonably concluded that she replaced her ball well outside of the normal parameters of what would otherwise be deemed acceptable (based on the fact that the "naked eye" test of the player herself should've been more stringent within the parameters of that situation (we are talking nearly an inch, after all, and without delay on the putting green, as she clearly went up to the ball, marked it, replaced it, then holed-out) and more to do with the prior situation of Anna Nordqvist who (unknowingly) brushed a few grains of sand in her bunker shot on the second hole of a playoff last season at the Women's US Open, which required the technology of a high-def camera to detect the infraction.
If Phil Mickelson, who has played on tour for 25+ years, says that there's an issue with players taking excessive liberties with regard to replacing a marked ball on the greens, then I believe there's definitely some funny business going on.
No one wants to call another player out for it, which is understandable. But in the end, you're either playing by the rules or not. And if some are and some aren't, then there's obviously a double standard that should be addressed.
After all, it is a game of integrity and honesty. I mean, how can you putt for birdie, go up and mark your ball, and then replace your ball 15 seconds later, and not know that you replaced your ball an inch away from where it lied originally?
I'm not saying Lexi intentionally cheated, but I think she's played long enough to know what is expected of her to replace her ball behind the mark in nearly the exact location it was originally.
This ruling, imo, wasn't prompted because of her situation entirely, beyond the timeliness of reporting aspect. It had more to do with those situations, like Nordqvist's, who had no earthly idea that her club touched a few grains of sand, and could only be detected with a technologically advanced high-def camera. Not to mention that in that particular instance, as well, it wasn't reported in a timely-enough fashion.