Amateur golfers ‘will be able to accept sponsorship without restriction’

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 24, 2021 10:39

Golfers will be able to play as professionals in tournaments, and receive sponsorship, and not lose their amateur status under new R&A and USGA proposals.

If adopted, the new rules would be some of the most significant changes to the Rules of Amateur Status that govern the game worldwide ever, and would come into effect on January 1, 2022.

Famously, Tiger Woods had to wait until he turned professional to sign a $40m sponsorship deal with Nike in 1996.

The proposals are that there will be only three acts that will result in a golfer losing their amateur status: accepting a prize in excess of the prize limit; accepting payment for giving instruction; and accepting employment as a golf club professional or membership of an association of professional golfers.

This means The R&A would eliminate the distinction between cash prizes and other prizes; use the prize limit as the only way an amateur can lose amateur status through their play (meaning that entering or playing a competition as a professional would not, of itself, result in the loss of amateur status); remove restrictions from the rules surrounding competitions such as long-drive events, putting competitions and skills competitions that are not played as part of a tee-to-hole competition; and eliminate all sponsorship restrictions.

Under the new rules they would only become a professional if they won and accepted more than the stipulated limit of $750 (£535).

Players who turn professional and want to return to the amateur ranks are also likely to face a shorter wait before coming back to the recreational game. The reinstatement period currently lasts at least 12 months and can be as long as two years.

Grant Moir, director of Rules at The R&A, said, “The Rules of Amateur Status play an important role in protecting the integrity of our self-regulating sport but the code must continue to evolve. This is particularly so in relation to the modern elite amateur game, where many of the players need financial support to compete and develop to their full potential, and the proposed new rules will give much greater scope for this.”

“Golf is unique in its broad appeal to both recreational and competitive golfers,” said Craig Winter, USGA senior director, Rules of Golf and Amateur Status. “We understand and value how important amateur status is, not only to those who compete at the highest level of the amateur game, but for the millions of golfers at every age and skill level who enjoy competitive events at their home courses. These updates should help simplify these Rules and ensure the health of the amateur game.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 24, 2021 10:39
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1 Comment

  1. ErnieLong February 24, 02:04

    Stop messing about with our game !

    Youve had too much time to think during lockdown, just stop.

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