By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
ARDMORE, Pa. -- For the third straight major championship, a viewer called in a possible rules violation.
Only this time, there were no penalties issued. Steve Stricker and Adam Scott were both cleared of any potential breach.
The first review in the opening round at Merion Golf Club came after Stricker had completed his round.
On the par-3 third hole (his 11th), Stricker's ball had come to rest under a tree and he would have been forced to stand in a bunker to hit it. Rules officials deemed the ball to be outside the bunker, however, and when Stricker searched for a spot to take the drop a viewer questioned whether Stricker was improving his lie.
Officials were convinced he wasn't, however, nor did Stricker drop it in the area where he'd paced back and forth.
He went on to double bogey the hole and shot 71.
Hours later, USGA executive director Mike Davis and chairman of the USGA competition committee Tom O'Toole, spoke to Scott after a viewer thought had grounded his club in a hazard on the fifth hole.
Scott had just putted out for birdie on the 11th hole to move within a stroke of the lead when play was suspended for darkness and he was approached by Davis and O'Toole.
After reviewing the tape, however, it was determined there was no breach. The walking official with the group, Reed Mackenzie, also agreed.
Earlier this year, Tiger Woods was assessed a two-stroke penalty for taking an improper drop on the 15th hole in the second round of the Masters.
In Woods' case, the call saved him from possible disaqualification because he wasn't notified of the possible violation until after he'd signed his scorecard, even though it was called in before he completed his round.
Woods went on to finish fourth.
At last year's PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, Carl Pettersson was given a two-stroke penalty on the first hole of the final round when his club brushed a leaf while standing in a hazard.
Pettersson was notified during the round aftera viewer had called in and he would eventually finish nine shots back of winner Rory McIlroy.