Haotong Li penalized two strokes, lost nearly $100,000 after unknowingly violating new rule with caddie

Several new changes to the Rules of Golf came into effect on Jan. 1, many of which have had a positive impact on the game and made it simpler.

Haotong Li, though, likely isn’t a fan of one of the new rules after a blunder at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday cost him a pair of strokes, a top-10 finish and nearly $100,000.

Li had made birdie on his final hole at Emirates Golf Club on Sunday, good enough for a 71 on his round and a third-place finish in the event.

However, after walking off the green, he was informed that he had violated rule 10.3b(3). Li was assessed a two-stroke penalty, which dropped him from a tie for third place in the event to a tie for 12th.

Rule 10.3b(3), which came into effect on Jan. 1, states that a caddie can’t “deliberately stand on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the player’s ball when the player begins taking a stance for the stroke and until the stroke is made.”

Video of the incident shows Li’s caddie walking away well before the shot, however it was determined that Li was already in his stance, which prompted the violation.

Li, the defending champion of the event, lost nearly $98,000 in prize money due to the ruling.

Bryson DeChambeau won the event on Sunday, firing an 8-under 64 to finish 24-under in the tournament. The World No. 5 recorded seven birdies and an eagle to post the lowest 72-hole score in tournament history, leading him to the seven-shot win.

The victory also marked DeChambeau’s first on the European Tour.

“Today I was happy with my game,” DeChambeau said, via the European Tour. “I executed a lot of great shots. Today was a pleasure. It was obviously a lot of fun to be able to finally hoist an international trophy, I’m so happy about that.”

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