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USGA Looking Into Lucy Li Apple Watch Ad

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Just got the statement from the USGA. The executive summary: she was found in breach and given a one-time warning. She remains an amateur. Pfffft.

The USGA Amateur Status Committee has ruled that amateur golfer Lucy Li breached Rule 6-2 of the Rules of Amateur Status by participating in an Apple Watch “Close Your Rings” advertisement campaign.  Following that determination, the Committee carefully reviewed the facts and circumstances surrounding the breach in order to determine the appropriate penalty for Ms. Li. 

As a result of that effort, the USGA has issued Ms. Li a one-time warning. She will retain her Amateur Status.

Late last year, Ms. Li was engaged by a casting agent for an acting assignment to promote the Apple Watch. At that time, the nature of her participation was not defined and she was given no indication that she would appear as a golfer. While on this assignment, Ms. Li was filmed engaging in a variety of recreational activities, one of which was golf. The casting agent informed her that her appearance in any final advertisement was not guaranteed, nor did they know how she would be featured.

Ms. Li first became aware of the final content of the advertisement, which featured her as a golfer, on Jan. 2. She was notified by the USGA of a pending review into her Amateur Status on Jan. 3. At that time, Apple immediately took down the advertisement in all its forms. On Jan. 11, USGA notified Ms. Li  she had breached the Rules of Amateur Status.

Since that time, the USGA has had several discussions with both Apple and the Li family and has confirmed that Ms. Li has neither received, nor will receive in the future, any monetary or non-monetary (e.g., products) compensation for her appearance in the advertisement. Ms. Li has affirmed to the USGA that at the time she agreed to participate in the advertisement she did not know she was breaching the Rules of Amateur Status, and at no time did she intend to forfeit her Amateur Status.

In determining the level of penalty, the Committee considered all these facts and circumstances, including a recognition that Ms. Li is a minor and that this was her first breach of the rules. This ruling is consistent with the Committee’s general practice of issuing a warning to amateurs who unknowingly breach Rule 6-2 for the first time and take appropriate remedial measures.  The USGA has communicated this ruling to Ms. Li and this matter is now closed.

We encourage amateur golfers who are unsure about taking a proposed action to engage with their governing body early in the process, in an effort to protect their Amateur Status.

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On 1/15/2019 at 7:58 PM, Mr22putt said:

I think the USGA just slaps Lucy on the wrist considering she's the USGA's poster child.

I use to call her Crazy Lucy Li....now I know why....she's pretty funny too.

As I said a month ago...it wasn't a surprise that Egghead only slapped Crazy Lucy Li on the wrists....Davis loves his teacher's pet.

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6 hours ago, iacas said:

This ruling is consistent with the Committee’s general practice of issuing a warning to amateurs who unknowingly breach Rule 6-2 for the first time and take appropriate remedial measures.

How often have they done this? They say they encourage amateurs to know the rule to protect their amateur status...but hey...if you breach the rule...no worries...we’ll just really encourage you to know the rule.

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9 hours ago, Vinsk said:

How often have they done this? They say they encourage amateurs to know the rule to protect their amateur status...but hey...if you breach the rule...no worries...we’ll just really encourage you to know the rule.

Probably not often, but then again who knows how often we hear about things? I'm guessing most amateurs simply follow the Rules.

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The USGA let Lucy Li off with a warning. But given the stakes for amateur golf, it should have taken more serious action.

Warnings widen gray areas, giving ambitious corporate entities more room to be creative in their early recruitment of amateur talent.

I agree. And what if there is a monetary gain? Oh...well then you really breached the rule?

The USGA declined a GolfChannel.com request for specific examples in the history of warnings, citing player privacy and confidentiality, but explaining there are decades of documented cases.

 

That’s fine, but you can argue Li’s violation is proof that those warnings don’t work.

The fact that that the family didn’t have an inkling that endorsing a product in a commercial might be a violation says a lot about the withering regard for amateurism principles. 

I think this is a good point. The USGA really has a weak excuse and I think completely dropped their pants on this one.

Edited by Vinsk

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Why don’t we narrow the rule and make it simple and clear.

Amateur are athletes who do not play/participate in that sport for money.

If we don’t narrow the rule the line will always be strange. Is Steph Curry a professional if he appears in a golf add?

What about a social media star who is a beautiful model who happens to also be an amazing golfer? Should she not be allowed to make a living and chase a dream of playing professionally?

Does anyone really think that Titleist is going to have an add campaign based on amateur players any time soon? And if they did how does it taint the sport? Would you really feel put out if the person who won your club championship got free clubs from Callaway?

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53 minutes ago, criley4way said:

Why don’t we narrow the rule and make it simple and clear.

It is simple and clear.

She breached it, and somehow got off with only a "warning."

53 minutes ago, criley4way said:

Is Steph Curry a professional if he appears in a golf add?

No, because he's not famous or known for being a golfer.

53 minutes ago, criley4way said:

What about a social media star who is a beautiful model who happens to also be an amazing golfer? Should she not be allowed to make a living and chase a dream of playing professionally?

Not sure oof your point here - nothing would stop her from playing professionally. It's remaining an amateur that's at question.

53 minutes ago, criley4way said:

Does anyone really think that Titleist is going to have an add campaign based on amateur players any time soon?

They have ads with amateurs in them all the time. But those amateurs are being paid as actors, not because of their reputation and skill as golfers.

53 minutes ago, criley4way said:

Would you really feel put out if the person who won your club championship got free clubs from Callaway?

It's not about being "put out." It's about the very definition of the word.

If they got $5k instead of the clubs, they're obviously no longer an amateur - they're accepting remuneration for their play/skill at golf. Ditto if they get clubs (valued at > $750).

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1 hour ago, criley4way said:

 

Why don’t we narrow the rule and make it simple and clear.

 

 

As @iacas stated the rule is simple and clear. It’s the enforcing that’s grey, and it shouldn’t be.

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I have been waiting for the final verdict in this issue. In my unbiased opinion, the first time warning was a good call on the USGA's part. There was absolutely no need to change this youngster's future by taking away her amateur status. It seems the USGA did a fair investigation of the issue. 

She learned a lesson, and is now able to carry on with what ever her amateur status brings forth for her. A possible scholarship for a free education is a pretty good deal for any youngster.. 

Yes, I know. Rules are rules, breaking rules of any kind have consequences. I know in my own past, ( probably my future too)  I have broken rules of one kind or another. I doubt there is anyone on this forum who hasn't broke a rule of some kind, some where in their past or future. It's because I am not perfect human being that I think in this case, the USGA made the right decision with a first time warning. 

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11 hours ago, iacas said:

It is simple and clear.

She breached it, and somehow got off with only a "warning."

No, because he's not famous or known for being a golfer.

Not sure oof your point here - nothing would stop her from playing professionally. It's remaining an amateur that's at question.

They have ads with amateurs in them all the time. But those amateurs are being paid as actors, not because of their reputation and skill as golfers.

It's not about being "put out." It's about the very definition of the word.

If they got $5k instead of the clubs, they're obviously no longer an amateur - they're accepting remuneration for their play/skill at golf. Ditto if they get clubs (valued at > $750).

You say it is simple and clear. But it would not be a violation if she were making money as a model. I am seeing this as she is being paid to be a model in an add. Apple could have had her pose in athletic wear on grass. Is that a violation?

My point is that being a professional athlete is about being paid for your athletic prowess not modeling. 

You may say she wouldn’t have the opportunity if not for her golf. OK so if she gets a scholarship valued at $200k isn’t that a much more direct payment for her golfing skills and play?

 

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4 minutes ago, criley4way said:

You say it is simple and clear. But it would not be a violation if she were making money as a model. I am seeing this as she is being paid to be a model in an add.

If the ad (not "add") didn't have the golf tie-ins, you'd have a point. But it did, so you don't.

4 minutes ago, criley4way said:

You may say she wouldn’t have the opportunity if not for her golf. OK so if she gets a scholarship valued at $200k isn’t that a much more direct payment for her golfing skills and play?

Horrible argument. College scholarships are specifically allowed in the rules for amateur status.

You can't win a tournament and accept the $200k check and say "But Jenny over there took $200k in scholarships!"

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15 hours ago, iacas said:

If the ad (not "add") didn't have the golf tie-ins, you'd have a point. But it did, so you don't.

Horrible argument. College scholarships are specifically allowed in the rules for amateur status.

You can't win a tournament and accept the $200k check and say "But Jenny over there took $200k in scholarships!"

You are mixing arguments. 

The rules say that an athlete can not accept money or anything in kind as a result of their golfing. Agreed the rules allow for scholarships (or at least they are accepted).

But you dismiss the argument too quickly. I am suggesting that the rules are not being reasonably applied in the modern era. The rule is intended to keep armatures from profiting from their play. I am arguing that the "golf" tie in is weak. The commercial is selling an activity monitor not golfing performance. She is engaged in multiple activities other than golf. I would accept your argument if the ad were suggesting that the watch made her a better golfer or impacted her game at all so that golf was at the core of the sale and therefore the monitization.

 

So exact same commercial and she is swinging a cricket bat is no issue. WEAK. 

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On ‎1‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 6:22 PM, nevets88 said:

Trying to remember when Woods was an amateur, I don't recall him ever being in any Nike spots, right? It was Hello, World right after he signed with Nike and announced intention to turn pro, drop out of Stanford, right? What are the implications (naive to think not) if she didn't take any money or compensation?

Here's the ad:

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The USGA is looking into Lucy Li's participation in an online ad campaign for Apple Watch.
gettyimages-997123382.jpg?w=640

Lucy Li’s appearance in a recent Apple advertisement has raised questions about her amateur status. The 16-year-old who first rocketed onto the golf...

 

Her parents knew exactly what they were doing.  They saw a chance for some exposure, if nothing else.  But just like the old follow the money game.  I'm sure the LPGA will get all the facts.

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16 minutes ago, criley4way said:

I am arguing that the "golf" tie in is weak. The commercial is selling an activity monitor not golfing performance. She is engaged in multiple activities other than golf. I would accept your argument if the ad were suggesting that the watch made her a better golfer or impacted her game at all so that golf was at the core of the sale and therefore the monitization.

The only reason people know of her is because of golf.  If she hadn't had a golf club in her hand in the commercial, she wouldn't be in the ad at all.

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29 minutes ago, criley4way said:

You are mixing arguments.

I am not.

29 minutes ago, criley4way said:

The rules say that an athlete can not accept money or anything in kind as a result of their golfing. Agreed the rules allow for scholarships (or at least they are accepted).

That's not what the Rules say.

The Rules put an upper limit on the amount of money or prizes amateur golfers can obtain.

They also disallow other types of acts, including (per 6-2, which Lucy Li violated) "Promotion, Advertising, Sales":

Quote

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. 

In the context of this Rule, even if no payment or compensation is received, an amateur golfer is deemed to receive a personal benefit by promoting, advertising or selling anything, or allowing his name or likeness to be used by a third party for the promotion, advertisement or sale of anything.

The exceptions do not apply in this case as Apple is not her national, regional, state, or county golf association, a recognized charity, etc.

29 minutes ago, criley4way said:

But you dismiss the argument too quickly.

No, you've made a poor argument.

29 minutes ago, criley4way said:

I am suggesting that the rules are not being reasonably applied in the modern era.

And I'm saying they are. That's not an argument, that's an opinion.

29 minutes ago, criley4way said:

The rule is intended to keep armatures from profiting from their play.

No, 6-2 is designed to stop amateurs from receiving payment, compensation, personal benefit… even if no payment or compensation is received… for using their skill or reputation as a golfer.

29 minutes ago, criley4way said:

I am arguing that the "golf" tie in is weak.

It's not.

29 minutes ago, criley4way said:

She is engaged in multiple activities other than golf.

Golf is by far the main activity:

29 minutes ago, criley4way said:

I would accept your argument if the ad were suggesting that the watch made her a better golfer or impacted her game at all so that golf was at the core of the sale and therefore the monitization.

Here's the biggest problem you face in making a good argument: you don't seem to understand the Rule.

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I think slaps on the wrists are good for amateurs.  These are just kids, and I'm fine with it creating a grey area.   Sometimes the punishment just doesn't always fit the crime, and if you make things overly rigid, bad things are going to end up happening to good kids.  kids make mistakes, especially kids that are not groomed to be professionals and don't have a ton of guidance.   I like that the USGA is setting an example on how they want to treat kids.   They are not just going to say, "rules are rules, you lose your status"  They are saying we will look at things on a case by case basis.   and if it really was a mistake, and we don't believe you were trying to profit from golf, then maybe a slap on the wrist will suffice.   

I also liked that this particular case, and their handling of it is in the public eye.   They knew they could have easily taken away Lucy Li's amateur status and it really wouldn't have made much of a difference.   The girl is basically ready to turn pro anyways.   but, being overly rigid here would set a precedent on how they will treat future situations.  Future situations where a person losing their amateur status may have a much more negative impact on their livelihood.   

 

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35 minutes ago, phillyk said:

The only reason people know of her is because of golf.  If she hadn't had a golf club in her hand in the commercial, she wouldn't be in the ad at all.

Yep. And she's making a golf swing with water and a birthday cake. Come on.

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