Recently, a pro golfer was punished and consequently, lost big because his caddie broke a simple rule.
At the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Haotong Li and his caddie, Mike Burrow were preparing for the 18th hole during the final round last Sunday. Li and Burrow stood close to the 18th hole and that’s where the trouble all began.
According to Alistair Tait of "Golfweek", it turns out that on January 1st, a new PGA rule, named rule 10.3b(3), was put into place that says that a caddie may not “deliberately stand on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the player’s ball when the player begins taking a stance for the stroke and until the stroke is made.”
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Basically, Burrow overstepped his bounds and our hearts go out to him because not only does standing close to an extension of the line of play behind a player’s ball when the player begins taking a stance for play seem like a really natural thing for a caddie to do but this brand new rule is just that - brand new! Nevertheless, PGA officials were not feeling the compassion for Burrows and issued Li a two-stroke penalty in the game. Li is the first player to be punished in this way.
Perhaps the saddest part for Li is that he seemed to have a real chance at placing at or near the top. He started off strong, successfully making the putt to finish his one-under 71. Before the penalty, Li seemed to be a shoo-in to at least tie for third place overall along with fellow players Sergio Garcia, Alvaro Quiros, Ian Poulter and Paul Waring.
The penalty ended up ruining Li’s chances to finish in the top three and ultimately, $98,000 in prize money. His final score dropped him to a tie for twelfth place with a finishing score of 73.
The silver lining of this costly mistake is that it has called attention to the PGA’s strict rules so that hopefully this doesn’t happen again. Meanwhile, we still find ourselves feeling a bit sorry for not just Li but Burrows who has got to be kicking himself still. We all make mistakes!
What do you think about the PGA's penalty for Li? Fair or unfair? Let us know in the comments!