Lee Ann Walker was handed an incredible number of penalty strokes after breaking the caddie rule at the Senior LPGA Championship
Remember the fuss about Haotong Li and his caddie? Lee Ann Walker just asked him to hold her beer.
Competing at the Senior LPGA Championship at French Lick, Walker reportedly hadn’t twigged about the much publicised change in the Rules of Golf at the start of the year – namely that caddies can’t deliberately stand behind a player’s line of play on the putting green, or anywhere else on the course.
Golfweek reported her playing partners pointed out her mistake on the 14th hole, her 5th, of her second round at the Indiana layout.
It meant she had breached Rule 10.2b (4), which states that a player’s caddie “must not deliberately stand in location on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball for any reason”.
Haotong Li was the first high profile player to get snagged by the new rule, when he was handed a two-shot penalty after bagman Mike Burrow failed to get out of the way quickly enough at the Dubai Desert Classic at the end of January.
But his sanction was dwarfed entirely by what happened to Walker, who informed a rules official and later went through her entire scoring over the first two days to work out how many times she’d broken the rule.
It turned her first-round 85 into an astonishing 127, thanks to 42 penalty strokes. She even managed to birdie the last.
Walker also had to tack on another 16 penalty shots on the second day as she signed for 90. That’s a total of 58 penalty strokes.
That gave her a halfway total of 217, or 73-over-par, and left her adrift at the bottom of the pile by 39 strokes.
“I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t upset,” said Walker afterwards to Golfweek. “I was just like, that’s going to add a ton to my scores. At that point what can you do? Obviously, it’s my fault for not knowing the rules, but what am I going to do?”
Because she wasn’t aware of the rules infringements during her opening round, Walker wasn’t disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard.
An exception to Rule 3.3b (3) states that: “If one or more of the player’s hole scores are lower than the actual scores because he or she excluded one or more penalty strokes that the player didn’t know about before returning the scorecard: The player is not disqualified.
“Instead, if the mistake is found before the close of the competition, the Committee will revise the player’s scores for that hole or holes by adding the penalty strokes that should have been included in the score for that hole or holes under the Rules.”