Wow, the new Rules of Golf have been a lot in the media lately!
This one has been discussed a lot. In the last round Sunday (January 27th 2019) of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, China’s Haotong Lee incurred two penalty strokes.
First, let us see what happened:
— Brian McKinley (@brijon5555) 27. januar 2019
Li was in breach of the new Rule 10.2b(4) which states, that from the exact moment, when the player begins taking his stance, the player’s caddie is not allowed to stand in the extension of the line of play away from the hole (you can read the exact wording here – go to no. (4)).
In different forums around the world the discussion has mainly concerned two things:
- Had Li begun taking his stance?
- Was it an unfair/wrong penalty?
There has been a lot of negative responses hereunder from European Tour CEO Keith Pelley and from some players.
R&A on the contrary issued a statement (see e.g. this link) where they confirmed, that the penalty was correctly applied, and that the meaning with this new Rule exactly was to penalize a player in such a situation. According to CBS Sports, Martin Slumbers from R&A thus underlined, that the Rule is “… designed to prevent any opportunity for the caddie to stand behind the player as he begins to take his stance. Whether the player intends to be lined up is not the issue.”
So it does not seem like they intend to change this new Rule.
By the way Li finished tied for 12th place – without this penalty he would have finished third place. The difference in prize money was approximately US $ 100,000!