Nothing gets the attention of the golfing world and perhaps the world in general than an 11-year-old earning her way into a Women’s U.S. Open.
And so it was when the world was introduced to little Lucy Li at the 2014 Women’s U.S. Open.
The USGA was overjoyed to get the attention.
Wow, wasn’t that great, a living breathing role model that would get children everywhere jazzed about perhaps taking up the sport of golf.
Lucy has been to the Drive-Chip-Putt competition finals at Augusta National. She won the 10-11 age group back in 2014. She made it into the Women’s Public Links at age 10.
So the good old USGA found itself with a problem when the now 16 Lucy was seen recently in a television ad for the Apple watch last month.
That’s a no-no according to USGA rules for players who want to compete as amateurs.
To get technical about it, the rule 6-2 reads as follows:
“An amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation must not use that skill or reputation to obtain payment, compensation, personal benefit or any financial gain, directly or indirectly, for (i) promoting, advertising or selling anything, or (ii) allowing his name or likeness to be used by a third party for the promotion, advertisement or sale of anything.”
So basically Lucy was in a spot of bother with the stuffed shirts at the USGA.
This one was a no-brainer. Did the big, bad USGA want to look even bigger and badder by basically bullying a child by revoking her amateur status?
After a pow-wow with Lucy and her family, the stuffed, starched shirts decided not to take away her amateur status because Li is a minor and it was her first breach of the rules. Also, Li did not receive any monetary or non-monetary compensation for appearing in the ad, and she did not knowingly break Rule 6-2.
It would have been a PR nightmare for the USGA, which has had its share of issues when it comes to the men’s U.S. Open and the ongoing problem of slow play in its events.
Yeah, Lucy got a time-out, basically.
More like a “hey, you’re good kid, no harm no foul — just don’t do it again.”