Several pros have united in their anger towards rules officials at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic after what they deemed a marginal call cost Haotong Li around €100,000.
Following the completing of his final round, the 23-year-old Chinese star was assessed a two-stroke penalty for an incident on the 72nd hole, where his caddie Mike Burrow was alleged to have lined him up.
In the new Rules of Golf implemented at the start of this month, officials from the USGA and R&A decided to prohibit caddies from standing behind players as they’re preparing to hit a shot or when they take their swings.
The new rule specifies that from the time a player ‘begins to take a stance for the stroke’ until the stroke is made, a caddie ‘must not deliberately stand on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball for any reason’.
However, the call, which saw Li – defending champion of the event – bogey the hole and fall from T3 to T12, ignited fury among his fellow professionals.
Paul McGinley highlighted its ‘pedanticness’, David Howell described it as ‘utterly ridiculous’, Eddie Pepperell said the decision was ‘shockingly bad’, while Ross Fisher called it ‘a disgrace’.
This is so ridiculously marginal. The player should be given the benefit of the doubt. The rule changes are largely about the spirit of the game & player integrity not this pedanticness.... https://t.co/BAgufWzRhi— Paul McGinley (@mcginleygolf) January 27, 2019
I wouldn’t say it’s marginal, unfortunately I’d say it’s utterly ridiculous, 5 years to change the rules so that the game doesn’t look daft and then this happens 2nd week out, in my opinion this needs looking at right away. Crazy rule, some common sense is needed here— David howell (@davidhowell530) January 27, 2019
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 🤷🏼♂️. https://t.co/cJ4OZZbRKk— Eddie Pepperell (@PepperellEddie) January 28, 2019
Don’t understand what’s the point or how can you say he’s helping him align, he’s clearly reading the putt.— Francesco Molinari (@F_Molinari) January 27, 2019
Make things more complicated than before for what?? https://t.co/quTQ7GAsjH
What happened to you and Mike was a disgrace bud. Shouldn't have happened. Chin up 👍🏻— Ross Fisher (@RossFisher) January 28, 2019
Awful decision as caddie has walked away before putter even behind the ball or player has taken his stance Feel sorry for the caddie as he will be gutted, how about @EuropeanTour officials start enforcing the rules on slow play which is killing the game, painful to watch today https://t.co/RN02ZQm9ya— Paul Lawrie (@PaulLawriegolf) January 27, 2019
Li himself didn’t address the penalty on social media directly, only tweeting a picture to say that he’d had ‘such a tough day’.
Such a tough day until i saw this lovely picture thank you Audrey❤️ pic.twitter.com/2LdJXkVELG— Haotong Li (@haotong_li) January 28, 2019
Haotong Li penalty :: Your thoughts
What do you make of the decision to assess Haotong Li with a two-stroke penalty at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic? Let us know in the 'Comments' section below.