Euro Tour officials hampered by UK tax rules

By Associated PressAugust 10, 2010, 7:10 pm

LONDON – European Tour officials are in talks with the British government to change tax rules which could deter leading golfers from playing in the Ryder Cup in October.

“These tax rules are discouraging leading sportsmen and sportswomen from competition in Britain,” Mitchell Platts, the tour’s director of public relations corporate affairs, said Tuesday.

Players competing in the match between Europe and the United States at Celtic Manor, Wales, could be seriously affected by recent rules issued by the customs and revenue agency, known as HMRC.

The agency can now tax foreign sportsmen and women not just on prize money earned but on sponsorship and endorsements connected to performances in Britain.

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt is among the sportsmen who have opted against competing in certain British events because of the rules implemented after HMRC won a landmark case four years ago against American tennis player Andre Agassi. Endorsement payments subsequently were liable for tax.

Non-British players competing in the Ryder Cup – from other European companies and the U.S. – would be harder hit since they receive no prize money from the event, and with just two months left before the match, the European Tour said it was concerned.

“Our aim is to attract the best players to provide the best entertainment for our audiences in the U.K. This tax rule is seriously hampering our efforts,” Platts said. “Discussions continue to take place with the HMRC and these discussions include the Ryder Cup.”

The Ryder Cup could yet be made exempt from the new rules, as the Olympic Games are. Next year’s Champions League final at Wembley was also accorded similar status in March but only after the stadium had lost out on a bid to host last season’s final because of tax issues.

Bolt, the Olympic and world champion in the 100 and 200 meters, said he would not be competing at the Crystal Palace meet this weekend because of the tax rules, which also are known to limit Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia’s appearances in Britain.

Agassi was ordered in 2006 to pay tax on a portion of cash paid to him by Nike and Head because he endorsed their products at Wimbledon and other events in Britain.

In the wake of that case, HMRC is now able to claim tax on a proportion of a sportsperson’s worldwide endorsements earnings. So if 50 percent of an athlete’s events are in Britain, 50 percent of their global endorsement earnings can be taxed.

Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association also expressed concern, saying the rules “`may act as a disincentive for world class – and emerging world class – sportsmen and women coming to compete here.”

HMRC defended the rules, saying the U.S., Australia and South Africa operate similar systems and that foreign residents in more than 100 countries can claim tax relief under double taxation agreements.

“It is only right that where someone comes to work in the U.K. and receives an income, that tax is paid on that income, where it is due,” the agency said. “Only the money the sports star earns in the U.K. that is connected to their performances in the U.K. is taxed.”

Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

“Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

“I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”

Getty Images

PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

Getty Images

Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm