As the USGA sorts our Lucy Li’s starring role in an Apple Watch ad, Steve Eubanks of Global Golf Post recaps the story and notes the no-win position faced by the governing bodies.
There aren’t many rocks and hard places much bigger than the ones they’re between.
While he suggests that’s based on past reputation, I’d counter that their biggest hurdle is a society seeing no issues with amateurs taking freebies or payment for endorsements. The lines have certainly been blurred by the Olympics and even things as seemingly innocuous as allowing amateur golfers to wear scripted corporate logo gear.
Still, no matter how you feel Eubanks makes a key point that mustn’t be forgotten in the debate.
But before you jump to conclusions, think about this: Li is listed in the field for the AJGA Buick Shanshan Feng Girls Invitational on Feb. 15-18. She will be playing against girls who know the rules; girls with parents who have shelled out small fortunes to keep their daughters competitive in the junior game.
How will those girls and their parents look at Li? Will anyone call her a cheater to her face?
Others played by the rules and while they may not have been offered endorsement opportunities, many or most of those players likely would have followed the rules. Li’s parents did not and while it’s a shame, clearly all involved were not concerned with her amateur status. For that alone, it’s time to let her pursue a professional career.
With Augusta National Women’s Amateur invitations going out this week, it will be interesting to see if the good folks in Augusta are holding on to Li’s automatic invite (based on world ranking) until a decision is handed down?
We discussed on this week’s Alternate Shot: