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By Alex Myers
Lee Ann Walker. Photo by Getty Images
There was a "58 watch" at the Senior LPGA Championship on Tuesday. It just wasn't the kind you might expect.
Lee Ann Walker was assessed 58 penalty strokes after it was discovered she had violated Rule 10.2b several times over the course of the first two rounds at the senior major being played at the Pete Dye Course in French Lick, Ind.
Implemented earlier this year, the rule prohibits caddies from lining up golfers on putting greens, among other spots on the course. And as Walker found out, there is no limit to the amount of penalty strokes a player can incur for breaking it.
In a statement released by the Senior LPGA Championship Rules Committee, the harsh decision came after Walker notified a rules official during the second round on Tuesday that she had been violating the rule. Obviously, Walker didn't realise this until it was pointed out to her by a fellow caddie on her fifth hole.
Walker then went through her round so far as well as the first round on Monday to determine just how many times she broke the rule. Considering the total, she was obviously being lined up by her caddie on most putts.
Of the 58 total penalty strokes, 42 were added to her first-round score, changing it to 127. Here's a look at her crazy scorecard from Monday:
The 16 added to Round 2 brought Tuesday's score to 90, leaving her at 73 over for two days, 39 strokes behind the next worst score.
Walker isn't the first victim of Rule 10.2b. In January, Haotong Li was given a two-shot penalty on the final hole of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, which cost him $100,000. The following month, the USGA and R&A released a joint statement regarding the rule after players complained.
Golf's governing bodies clarified the caddie has to be deliberately standing behind a player when he or she begins taking a stance.
Walker was not disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard after her first round because she was unaware of any rules infraction (Rule 3.3b). "With that, the Committee had Lee Ann recreate the number of times this infraction occurred during both the first and second rounds and her scorecards were adjusted accordingly," according to the statement.
On the bright side (maybe?), even without the penalty strokes, Walker wouldn't have made the two-day cut on the difficult track where Juli Inskter leads at three under after 36 holes.
The Solheim Cup captain and seven-time major champ has a two-shot edge entering Wednesday's final round in French Lick.