With new rules, comes a lot of time for interpretation of those rules. The rule book in golf is fairly small, but the interpretations and decisions is very big in comparison. In the first month of the new rules in play, you have probably seen and heard about a few incidents already, with the Caddie behind the player rule getting the most attention, and causing some serious heart ache for a few players. Due to all of the attention on tv and social media, USGA has announced some clarifications to restrictions on Caddie standing behind the player.
The first player to hit the spotlight for this rule was China's Haotong Li, which sunk a birdie putt on the 72nd hole, but was penalized the 2 stroke penalty, changing his birdie into a bogey, and dropping him from T3 to T12... costing him over $100,000. This was the first taste of this rule, and the media responded loud and clear, they did not like this penalty, and it had to be changed right away. Li bounced back in the next tournament, shooting 4 eagles in a round, including 3 of those eagles on Par 4s, so we're happy he is moving on and not letting that penalty get the best of him.
Denny McCarthy, who won the Web.com Tour Championship this past September, was the latest victim of this rule, last weekend at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Arizona. His caddie walked away after McCarthy had taken a couple of practice strokes, but that was apparently considered taking his stance, and was penalized 2 strokes, making his 65, a 67, which had him at 6th, 7 strokes behind Rickie Fowler at the time. After a huge uproar from players on social media, USGA reversed the 2 stroke penalty from Friday's round on Saturday, which was highly unusual.
In the Golf Digest article, you can scroll to the bottom and see some of the backlash from social media.
In the best attempts to not state the clarifications incorrectly, we will just link to an article on the USGA Website.