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Golfer loses amateur status over unpaid commercial

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An accomplished amateur golfer in Indiana, Scott Pieri thought nothing of offering a testimonial during a brief commercial for a friend's company, an appearance for which he was not compensated.

Unfortunately for Pieri, the USGA viewed the situation differently, and the 45-year-old was informed in the middle of a tournament earlier this month that the appearance in question cost him his amateur status.

'Ultimately, it's my responsibility to know this,' Pieri told Golfweek. 'I just misinterpreted it.'

Pieri's appearance came within a 10-second spot for Golf Etc., a club-fitting store owned by a friend in the Fort Wayne, Ind., area. After playing in the first round of the Indiana State Amateur on June 17, Pieri was informed by a USGA official prior to the start of the second round that his amateur status had been revoked.

According to the governing body, even without receiving compensation Pieri violated Rule 6-2, concluding that the appearance theoretically could have elevated his status, thereby helping him to gain entry into additional events. While he disagrees with the decision, Pieri, who was a runner-up at the 2012 Indiana State Amateur, does not plan to appeal.

'I play in every big tournament there is around here,' he added. 'I don't need any more invitations.'

Still five years from a potential bid at playing on the Champions Tour, Pieri is reportedly unsure about whether to seek reinstatement. It's a process he's been through before, having regained his amateur status after Monday qualifying for three PGA Tour events in 1997 and winning the Indiana PGA Professional Championship in 2003. The first time around, Pieri's reinstatement took more than two years to complete.