USGA, R&A to modernize Rules of Amateur Status

USGA/Chris Keane

USGA, R&A to modernize Rules of Amateur Status

Amateur

USGA, R&A to modernize Rules of Amateur Status

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Weeks after NCAA policy makers voted to allow student athletes to “benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness in a manner consistent with the collegiate model,” the USGA and R&A announced they are reviewing their Rules of Amateur Status.

The USGA and R&A don’t reference the NCAA in their news release Monday announcing that golf’s governing bodies will continue the joint effort to modernize the Rules by making them easier to understand.

But many who pay attention to golf will wonder if the two are related as the NCAA grapples with how to allow athletes to take advantage of name, image and likeness while making sure the benefits don’t feed into recruiting wars.

The review process by the USGA and R&A began earlier this year with input being collected from elite amateur golfers, golf event organizers, national golf associations and other industry partners. The goal is to present a modernized set of the Amateur Status Rules in late 2021, with the Rules going into effect Jan. 1, 2022.

“One of golf’s greatest benefits is that it can be played by all ages and played for a lifetime,” Thomas Pagel, senior managing director of Governance at the USGA, said in a statement. “It is our goal to ensure that the fundamental concept of what it means to be an amateur golfer is clear and retained to promote fair competition and enjoyment for everyone, while still addressing many issues that seek to protect the game. This is a forward-thinking approach and engaging golfers is a key component of doing what’s best for golf.”

In a separate move, effective Jan. 1, 2020, the USGA and the R&A will introduce one change to Rule 3-2b of the Rules of Amateur Status, which regulates hole-in-one prizes. The Rules will no longer limit the prize an amateur golfer may win when making a hole-in-one outside a round of golf, including “stand-alone” and “multiple-entry” hole-in-one events. The change was made to help promote the game and cater to new audiences, and eliminate unnecessary restrictions for event organizers.

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