New Rules Cost Haotong Li: Caddies, Don't Stand Behind Your Player

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File this one under “why tour players get irritable about some of the refreshed Rules of Golf.”

Here is the language:

New Rule: Under Rule 10.2b(4):

  • The previous prohibition is extended so that, once the player begins taking a stance for the stroke, and until the stroke is made, the player’s caddie must not deliberately stand on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball for any reason.

  • There is no penalty if the caddie accidentally stands on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball, rather than in trying to help in lining up.

Here is Haotong Li in what ended up as a penalty in the Dubai Desert Classic, reports’s Ryan Lavner. It’s a violation as the new rule reads in taking him from third to 12th:

Good rule of thumb here caddies: just don’t stand anywhere behind the player anywhere near the start of a shot and you’ll be fine.

There is a bigger picture issue here as it relates to the new rules and pro golfers being governed by amateur organizations: while this is a violation and was likely accidental, there is a danger of professionals citing this as yet another example of the rules excessively monitoring their livelihood. I’ve picked up some stray jabs and concerns this week about the new rules, and while it’s hard to tell if it’s just a product of the transitional learning adoption phase or something deeper, remains to be seen.