Teen golf phenom lands in rough over Apple Watch ad

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golfer Lucy Li
Lucy Li's appearance in an Apple Watch ad may force her to turn pro.
Screen shot: Apple/YouTube

A teen-aged golf prodigy could lose her amateur status after she appeared in a 15-second video for the Apple Watch.

Lucy Li, 16, is ranked ninth among the world’s women’s amateurs. The United States Golf Association could revoke her status as early as next week – even though, according to her mother, she received no compensation for appearing in the ad.

The question over whether the Apple Watch ad is a violation of the rules on amateurism was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Li wears the watch in the colorful ad and is in a number of scenes hitting golf balls. That seems to be enough to violate the rule, according to the USGA’s guidelines on amateur status.

The rule states an amateur may not use their “golf skill or reputation” to receive payment or personal benefit in advertising or selling the product of a third party.

It also says: “In context of this Rule, even if no payment or compensation is received, an amateur golfer is deemed to receive personal benefit by promoting, advertising or selling anything…”

Li has played in the spotlight since 2014 when she became the youngest golfer to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open. She was 11 at the time and last year made the cut in two major championships.

One former USGA official quoted by the Chronicle predicted she would get a slap on the wrist.”

Chronicle golf columnist Ron Kroichick suggested the USGA could “modernize the rules and still preserve the idea of amateur athletics.”

He also said Li was likely to turn pro sometime this year. Putting on an Apple Watch could speed things up for her.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle