“IT is unfortunate with what happened, I did not mean that at all, I had no idea that I did it,” Lexi Thompson later said on television.
“I had to regroup myself, my caddie helped me out tremendously, we have a great relationship. I tried to gather myself and I made a great putt at 13.
“But it is all to the fans, they helped me get through the rest of the round and I thank them a lot.
“I learned a lot about myself and how much I have in me. I was not expecting what happened today to happen and I will learn from it.”
South Korean Ryu was the beneficiary as she claimed a second major title after making a four in the play-off, but admitted her win did not feel right.
“I cannot believe the situation. I did not even check the leaderboard, Lexi was playing so well. I didn’t expect it,” she said.
“It hurts me as well, it is a weird feeling but at the same time I am proud of myself.”
The LPGA said in a statement: “On Sunday afternoon, the LPGA received an email from a television viewer that Lexi Thompson did not properly replace her ball prior to putting out on the 17th hole during Saturday’s third round of the ANA Inspiration.
“She was immediately notified of the breach by LPGA Rules Committee in between holes 12 and 13 of the final round.”
And LPGA Tour rules official Sue Witters, who had to break the news to a stunned Thompson, said she understood the outrage of fans but insisted no other option was available.
“What is my choice?” she said. “A violation in the rules and then it would be the opposite story: Oh, they knew, why didn’t they do anything about it.
“I cannot go to bed tonight knowing that I let a rule slide. You know, it is a hard thing to do, and it made me sick to be honest with you.”