R&A Releases Statement On Caddie Alignment Issue

One rule in particular has caused plenty of controversy on Tour already in 2019, prompting golf's governing bodies to release a statement

Brexit Has Caused Significant Concern For Open Brexit Poses "Significant Concern" For Open R&A Releases Statement On Caddie Alignment Issue Haotong Li Penalty Correct

One Rule in particular has caused plenty of controversy on Tour already in 2019, prompting golf's governing bodies to react

R&A Releases Statement On Caddie Alignment Issue

The new Rules of Golf for 2019 have had a controversial start to life, most notably with the new prohibition of caddies lining up players out on Tour.

The new Rule, in the view of most, was brought in to police the issue on the LPGA Tour, although, ironically, it has been heavily involved on both the men's European and PGA Tours.

 

At the Dubai Desert Classic, China's Haotong Li was penalised two strokes after his caddie stood behind him whilst he was setting up for a short putt on the 72nd hole.

It was Rule 10.2.b4 that Li and his caddie fell foul of:

When a player begins taking a stance for the stroke and until the stroke is made:

  • The player’s caddie must not deliberately stand in a location on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball for any reason.
  • If the player takes a stance in breach of this Rule, he or she cannot avoid penalty by backing away.
See more

His caddie got out of the way before he had officially make the stroke, and he was only reading the putt anyway, but both R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers and European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley admitted that it was a correct decision when applying the letter of the (new) law.

Pelley called on the R&A, and USGA, to allow discression to be used when applying the rules in this instance. He also called the penalty "grossly unfair."

Slumbers replied the following day, reaffirming the fact that there is no discretionary element to the rule to make it easier to understand. He did also say that the R&A will be monitoring the impact of all of the new Rules

Would the issue blow over? Absolutely not.

The following week, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour, Denny McCarthy was then penalised two strokes himself after his caddie stood behind him during practice swings for a pitch shot.

This seemed very harsh and, just like the Li situation a week prior, Tour Pros were angry about the decision.

Justin Thomas tweeted, "This is ridiculous... the fact this is a penalty is mind blowing. @USGA this NEEDS to be changed ASAP... there is nothing about this rule that makes the game better."

See more

Incredibly, the R&A and USGA then released a statement explaining that McCarthy's two stroke penalty had been rescinded.

See more

The statement also says that they will be providing "necessary clarifications" in the coming days.

Read the statement below -

Following an ongoing dialogue with players and in co-operation with the PGA TOUR rules team, The R&A and the USGA revisited the penalty assessed to Denny McCarthy during round two of the Waste Management Open.

After an additional review of available video this morning, it was determined that the penalty would not apply in this instance nor in a similar instance involving Justin Thomas.

In each of these cases, when the caddie was standing behind the player, the player had not yet begun taking the stance for the stroke, nor could useful guidance on aiming be given because the player was still in the process of determining how to play the stroke.

The same would be true for any similar situation that might occur.

The R&A and the USGA recognise that clarity on how to appropriately apply this Rule is needed. We are committed to assessing its impact and will provide the necessary clarifications in the coming days.

Expand Sergio Garcia Disqualified From Saudi For Misconduct

Sergio Garcia Disqualified

Sergio Garcia Disqualified From Saudi For Misconduct

The Spaniard reportedly damaged a couple of greens

Expand Haotong Li Penalty Leaves Tour Pros Fuming

Haotong Li Penalty

Haotong Li Penalty Leaves Tour Pros Fuming

The two-time European Tour winner was penalised two…

Expand Keith Pelley Says Haotong Li Penalty “Grossly Unfair”

Keith Pelley Says Haotong Li Penalty Grossly Unfair

Keith Pelley Says Haotong Li Penalty “Grossly Unfair”

In a recent statement, European Tour CEO Pelley…

Expand Martin Slumbers: ‘Haotong Li Penalty Correct’

Brexit Has Caused Significant Concern For Open Brexit Poses "Significant Concern" For Open R&A Releases Statement On Caddie Alignment Issue Haotong Li Penalty Correct

Martin Slumbers: ‘Haotong Li Penalty Correct’

The R&A Chief Executive says the decision made…

For all the latest golf news, check the Golf Monthly website and follow our social media channels

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.


Elliott is currently playing:


Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x