USGA Revises Rules of Amateur Status for 2006

By Golf Channel NewsroomAugust 26, 2005, 4:00 pm
USGAFAR HILLS, N.J. -- Announcing the most significant revisions to its Rules of Amateur Status since their inception, the United States Golf Association has approved a change that will allow amateur golfers in the United States and Mexico to accept help with their expenses to play in golf competitions.
 
This change regarding expenses heads a number of revisions that are the result of a thorough two-year review of the Rules of Amateur Status. The USGA and The R&A, St. Andrews, Scotland, worked together in revising their respective codes for 2006, bridging more than 20 differences between their previous codes. All changes will be effective January 1, 2006.
 
Currently, only junior golfers are permitted to accept help from outside their families for expenses to play in individual competitions. With this change, players of all ages will be able to accept outside assistance regarding their tournament expenses, provided that the reimbursement for the expenses comes through their state or regional golf association.
 
This is a major advance for amateur golf, said Fred Ridley, president of the USGA. It gives amateurs who do not have access to substantial family resources the opportunity to receive help from friends and supporters so they can compete against their peers.
 
A key change to the new Rules also regards the value of a prize won for a hole-in-one. This Prize Rule has been amended by the USGA in its code to allow an amateur golfer to accept a prize of any value for a hole-in-one made while playing golf. The hole-in-one issue remains the sole case where the two organizations did not reach agreement as the R&A will continue to prohibit prizes with a value that exceeds the prize limit that is otherwise applied, which is $750 in the United States and 500 (or its equivalent) in Great Britain and the remainder of the world.
 
Finally, more consistent timeframes have been established for golfers seeking to regain their amateur status. In most cases, there will be a one-year wait for reinstatement if a player has been a professional for less than five years and a two-year wait if a professional for more than five years.
 
Questions and Answers Regarding Changes
to the 2006 Rules of Amateur Status
Effective January 1, 2006

 
With the Rule change regarding expenses, what are examples of a players expenses to a competition?
Examples of expenses include transportation (e.g., airfare and rental car), lodging, meals, the entry fee, and caddie fees.
 
How are juniors affected by the new Rule regarding the acceptance of expenses to competitions?
A junior golfer (defined as one who has not reached (i) the September 1 following graduation from secondary school or (ii) his 19th birthday, whichever comes first) may now accept help from outside his family to all competitions. (Through 2005 juniors are allowed to accept expenses only to amateur competitions.) If the outside help with expenses is for a junior competition, the expenses do not need to go through the players state or regional golf association. If the expenses are to a non-junior competition (e.g., the U.S. Amateur or the U.S. Open), the junior golfer may accept expenses, but the expenses must be paid through his state or regional golf association.
 
How are older players affected by the new Rule regarding the acceptance of expenses?
Previously, players other than juniors were not allowed to accept help from outside their families with expenses to play in a competition. Under the new Rule, all amateur golfers will have the ability to have their expenses to a competition reimbursed. For example, a friend could, through the players state or regional golf association, assist the player with his expenses to play in a competition.
 
Why does the reimbursement of expenses need to go through the players state or regional golf association?
Given the introduction of this significant change, the USGA wants to ensure that the new Rule is not abused and that a player is merely reimbursed for what he spent and does not receive additional payment.
 
Does the new exception for hole-in-one prizes apply to all formats of hole-in-one contests?
No. The Exception applies to a hole-in-one made while playing golf, a phrase that includes situations where the hole-in-one is incidental to a round of golf (including a partial round).
 
For example, a prize won for a hole-in-one must still conform to the prize limit of a retail value of $750 in the following formats:
A contest in which a player is allowed more than one opportunity on a hole to win the prize;
A contest conducted other than at a golf course (e.g., a simulator or driving range);
A putting contest.
 
Does the new provision for hole-in-one prizes also apply to closest-to-the-hole prizes as well?
No. It applies only to hole-in-one prizes.
 
Under what circumstances will amateurs receive compensation for giving instruction in approved programs?
As the USGA believes that providing instruction for compensation is a key charge of the PGA of America and its members, the intention of the new Rule is to help support golf in areas where it is difficult to obtain enough PGA Professionals to help with golf programs. Only in very rare circumstances where adequate assistance from PGA Professionals is not available will the USGA consider, on a case by case basis, approving the payment of amateurs to give instruction. Before approving any such program, the USGA will be in close contact with the PGA of America.
 
What is the new Rule regarding sponsored handicap competitions?
Effective January 1, 2006, amateurs competing in sponsored handicap events (e.g., by a company) may accept expenses to play in its various stages, provided the event has been approved by the USGA for US-only events or the USGA and the governing body of any other country involved with the competition. This new provision applies only to competitions that are played on a net basis.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ


Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year


And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win


Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.