Amateur star subject of USGA investigation

Lucy Li

An American amateur star is being investigated by the USGA over her participation in an advertisement for tech giant Apple.

Lucy Li, 16, the ninth-highest ranked amateur in the world, featured in the Apple Watch ad campaign by hitting a golf shots in a number of settings wearing the company's watch.

Seems pretty harmless, right? Well, not really. Rule 6-2 of the USGA's Rules of Amateur Status addresses the use of golf skill or reputation for promotion, advertising and sales:

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“An amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation must not use that skill or reputation to obtain payment, compensation, personal benefit or any financial gain, directly or indirectly, for (i) promoting, advertising or selling anything, or (ii) allowing his name or likeness to be used by a third party for the promotion, advertisement or sale of anything.

“In the context of this Rule, even if no payment or compensation is received, an amateur golfer is deemed to receive a personal benefit by promoting, advertising or selling anything, or allowing his name or likeness to be used by a third party for the promotion, advertisement or sale of anything.”

Lucy Li1

The USGA is now looking into the matter and gathering more information that could determine if Li violated any terms of her amateur status.

“The USGA was made aware of this and we’ve reached out to Lucy’s family to learn more about her participation in these videos," the USGA said in a statement sent to GolfChannel.com. "We are at the beginning of the fact-finding stage, and it’s premature at this point to discuss more. Lucy’s family has been fully cooperative and we are thankful for the dialogue.”

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Li told Golf Digest that she could not discuss the video because of a non-disclosure agreement that she signed with Apple. Reportedly, Li's mother, Amy, said that her daughter and her family did not receive compensation from Apple but, as the rules state, she does not have to have received financial payment to have broken a rule.

It’ll be interesting to see how this one pans out.

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