Senior LPGA Championship player was assessed 58 penalty strokes over caddie lining up her putts
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Senior LPGA Championship player was assessed 58 penalty strokes over caddie lining up her putts

While Juli Inkster seeks a first-ever senior major championship at the 2019 Senior LPGA Championship at French Lick Resort in Indiana, another player in the 78-woman field was on the receiving end of a staggering number of penalty strokes.

Golfweek reports Lee Ann Walker has been assessed a total of 58 penalty strokes over the first two rounds of the competition at the resort's Dye Course for a violation of Rule 10.2b, which prohibits a caddie from lining up a player on the golf course.

The pertinent section of the rule in question reads:

(2) Pointing Out Line of Play for Ball on Putting Green. Before the stroke is made, only the player and his or her caddie may point out the player’s line of play, but with these limitations:

  • The player or caddie may touch the putting green with a hand, foot or anything he or she is holding, but must not improve the conditions affecting the stroke in breach of Rule 8.1a, and
  • The player or caddie must not set an object down anywhere on or off the putting green to show the line of play. This is not allowed even if that object is removed before the stroke is made.

While the stroke is being made, the caddie must not deliberately stand in a location on or close to the player’s line of play or do anything else (such as pointing out a spot or creating a shadow on the putting green) to point out the line of play.

The penalty for violation of this rule is two strokes for every instance in which this happens, for an unlimited number of instances. Another caddie in the group for the first two rounds brought the problem to the LPGA's attention during Round 2, and they had Walker recreate the situations in which she violated the rules after she approached them with concerns.

In the first round, Walker was penalized 42 strokes for 21 separate violations of the rule. All told, the penalties brought her first-round 85 to a 127.

In the second round, Walker was penalized eight times for 16 strokes en route to turning a 74 into a 90.

Naturally, Walker missed the second-round cut down to the top 45 players and ties.

For many players in this field, they don't get to play much competitive golf these days. Walker was likely unaware of the rules changes taking effect in 2019 that not only banned a caddie from lining up a player behind the ball before a stroke was taken, but she was also likely unaware of the staggering potential penalties for the error.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

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