PGA Tour retracts McCarthy's 2-stroke penalty for caddie alignment

Photo of PGA Tour retracts McCarthy's 2-stroke penalty for caddie alignment

In an unprecedented series of events, the PGA Tour announced they have rescinded the two-stroke penalty given to Denny McCarthy during Friday's second round at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

McCarthy was handed the penalty for an infraction under rule 10.2b(4), which states "once the player begins taking a stance for the stroke and until the stroke is made, the player's caddie must not deliberately stand on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball for any reason."

Here is the video of the incident under question:

After the video surfaced, player's began expressing their disgust in how the new rule is being enforced. Justin Thomas - who had a similar incident mentioned in the Tour's statement - called out the USGA and said the penalty was "ridiculous" and "mind-blowing."

"It is clear that there is a great deal of confusion among players and caddies on the practical application of the new rule during competition," the PGA Tour's statement read. "As a result, with the full support of the USGA and The R&A, the rule will be interpreted whereby the two aforementioned situations (McCarthy's and Thomas's), as well as future similar situations, will not result in a penalty."

The USGA also released a statement on the rule, defending the decision to retract the penalty and confirming what is visible in the video.

"In each of these cases, when the caddie was standing behind the player, the player had not yet begun taking the stance for the stroke, nor could useful guidance on aiming be given because the player was still in the process of determining how to play the stroke."

Last week on the European Tour, China's Haotong Li was penalized under the same rule. His infraction cost him nearly $100,000 and created a similar uproar with fellow Tour pros.

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