Li penalized 2 shots in Dubai after caddie helps with alignment

Haotong Li became the first high-profile player to run afoul of the new rule that bans a caddie from assisting in lining up a shot.

The defending champion at the Dubai Desert Classic, Li was in position for another high finish when officials determined that Li’s caddie stood on a direct line behind his ball when he took his stance on the 18th green. The two-shot penalty turned his birdie into a bogey, his 71 became a 73, and he dropped from a tie for third into joint 12th – the difference of about $100,000.

It’s one of the major changes in the new rules, which went into effect Jan. 1.


Full-field scores from Omega Dubai Desert Classic


The governing bodies decided that the ability to line up a player’s feet and body accurately is a fundamental skill of the game that should be the sole responsibility of the player.

Li did not speak to reporters afterward, but video of the alleged infraction surfaced online:

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