Lucy Li’s Apple ad spot raises questions about am status
This story has been updated...
Lucy Li (USGA photo)
After her U.S. Women’s Open debut as an 11-year-old in 2014, Lucy Li
became a household name in amateur golf. She has since made a turn on the U.S. Curtis Cup team and risen to No. 9 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. That said, it didn’t go unnoticed when Li, now 16, appeared in a recent Apple Watch ad campaign.
The problem with the ad -- which includes images of Li wearing the Apple Watch during daily activities (with a heavy focus on golf) -- is that it potentially compromises her status as an amateur, per the USGA's published rules of amateurism.
The USGA is currently looking into the details surrounding Apple's use of Li’s name and image in the ad and whether it affects her amateur status. It is a fact-finding process that will likely take time.
The USGA issued this statement over the weekend:
“The USGA was made aware of this yesterday and we’ve reached out to Lucy’s family to learn more about her participation in these videos. We are at the beginning of the fact-finding stage, and it’s premature at this point to discuss more. Lucy’s family has been fully cooperative and we are thankful for the dialogue.”
Li shared the following Tweet to her timeline on Jan. 2, but later removed it:
The Tweet linked to a 15-second video clip in which Li was identified as "Lucy L."The whole ad campaign can be found here
, and Li was originally featured on the page. Her video clip also has been removed.
Golf Digest's Ryan Herrington contacted Li
, reporting that "Li said she had signed a non-disclosure agreement with Apple that prohibited her from discussing the video." Herrington also contacted Li's mother Amy, who told him that Lucy and the family did not receive any compensation for being in the video.
The Rules of Golf include a thorough section on amateur status. Rule 6-2, which covers “use of golf skill or reputation,” perhaps addresses Li's situation best.
According to the rule:
"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 to this rule allow for a player's name and likeness to be used in promoting his/her national, regional, state or county golf union or association; a recognized charity (or similar good cause); or a cause deemed by a national golf union or association to be in the best interests of the game.