Haotong Li Penalty Leaves Tour Pros Fuming

The two-time European Tour winner was penalised two strokes after his caddie was deemed to have lined him up over a putt

Haotong Li Penalty
Li was penalised after being deemed to have lined up by his caddie (Twitter: @Brijon5555)

The two-time European Tour winner was penalised two strokes after his caddie was deemed to have lined him up over a putt

Haotong Li Penalty Leaves Tour Pros Fuming

The new Rules of Golf have been in force for a few weeks now and we witnessed the first high-profile penalty on Tour this weekend.

Perhaps one of the lesser publicised Rules, because it doesn't apply to club golfers, is that caddies are no longer allowed to line up their players.

Well, Haotong Li's caddie was deemed to have lined his player up over a putt on the 18th hole during the Dubai Desert Classic and it cost the defending champion two strokes and around €100,000.

It dropped him from T3rd down to T12th.

The two-time European Tour winner had a short birdie putt on the last hole (which he made) and his caddie was behind him appearing to be helping out with reading the putt.

However, by the time Li had taken his stance and address position over the putt, his caddie had moved away.

Li's caddie has walked away after he has taken a stance (Twitter: @Brijon5555)

It is certainly unclear whether he was lining up his man or just simply taking a look at the line of the putt.

Watch the video below:

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The penalty has angered many on social media, including Li's fellow Tour Pros Eddie Pepperell, Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Pablo Larrazabal and more.

British Masters champion Eddie Pepperell tweeted: Hard to believe @haotong_li has been penalised for this. Frankly, I think it’s a shockingly bad decision and for the life of me I cannot see how Mike has lined Haotong up here."

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It was Rule 10.2.B that ultimately cost Haotong Li, here is what it states -

A player may have his or her line of play pointed out by:

  • Having his or her caddie or any other person stand on or close to the player’s line of play to show where it is, but that person must move away before the stroke is made.

Do you feel Haotong Li's penalty was harsh or do you see how his caddie could have been seen as lining him up?

Let us know your thoughts on our social media channels

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Elliott Heath
Elliott Heath

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. Elliott graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He is obsessed with the game and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey. His handicap index floats between 3-5. 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

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Honma TR20B

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x