While China’s Haotong Li made headlines last week at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic for receiving a 2-stroke penalty, which cost him roughly $100,000, Australian Lucas Herbert was caught on camera improving his lie in the bunker.
Herbert’s infraction was caught on the television broadcast, and former Tour pro Gary Evans brought it to light on social media.
Evans wrote, “If I ever witnessed a playing partner do this, a 2 shot penalty would be the least of his worries!”
If I ever witnessed a playing partner do this, a 2 shot penalty would be the least of his worries! ??? pic.twitter.com/Ltv7HP9jjc
— GaryEvans (@garyevanspro) January 29, 2019
Herbert was attempting to clear his lie of loose impediments, which is now permitted in the sand under the revised Rules of Golf. However, improving a lie or testing the surface of the sand is still prohibited.
Speaking to the “Inside the Ropes” podcast, Herbert said he didn’t intentionally break the rules.
“A bad brain fade, I guess,” he said. “In my heart of hearts, it didn’t affect the actual golf shot. I went back and looked at the lie, even recreated a similar lie later on. It was still a horrible lie. I would have loved to have hit a different shot if the lie was a lot better. At the end of the day, it was still a horrible lie and it was still a long way away from the ball.”
Herbert said that in hindsight he wished he would have used his hand to remove the visual impairments.
“The issue is the gray area of the rules. It was too close to the swing,” he said. “It was to the point of, we needed to take the penalty because it was sort of the right thing to do in the end. I didn’t want to be labeled as someone who doesn’t play the game fairly.”