It took less than a week for the rule that bit Haotong Li to rear its head again.
As Golf Digest details, Denny McCarthy was penalized two shots during Friday’s second round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
McCarthy, a 25-year-old who won last year’s Web.com Tour Championship, was hitting his fourth shot at the par-5 15th at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course after knocking his second into the water.
That was already rough enough, but then as McCarthy was taking practice swings for his impending fourth shot, his caddie stood directly behind him…
Unfortunately, the looper doing that violates Rule 10.2b (4). That rule put in place in 2019 states that when a player begins taking a stance for the stroke and until the stroke is made, his caddie cannot deliberately stand in a location on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball for any reason.
The caddie in this instance is clearly standing behind the ball in this manner and McCarthy is constituted to have begun taking a stance here. Hence the penalty.
If you recall, the Li infraction on this rule last week was met with great outrage. Many felt the penalty went too far for what seemed a marginal interpretation of the rule, with the European Tour’s CEO calling the ruling “grossly unfair.”
Li could’ve benefited from an exception in the rule which states that while putting on the green if the player backs away from his stance and does not begin his stance again until the caddie is out of a potentially penalizing position, he avoids penalty.
Li was on the green putting at the time but seemed to be unaware he was breaking a rule, so he didn’t know to use that exception.
McCarthy’s shot was not on the green, so he was not eligible for this exception. The caddie was no longer in a compromising position as McCarthy backed away following the practice swings, but again that only would’ve allowed him to avoid penalty if this happened on the green.
With the penalty, McCarthy double bogeyed the hole. He did still shoot 4-under 67, though, and is T-17 at 6 under through 36 holes.