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.
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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:40 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (

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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:30 am

Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

How old is it?

It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

Where is it played?

There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

Where will it be played this year?

At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

Who has won The Open on that course?

Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

Who has won this event the most?

Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

What about the Morrises?

Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

Have players from any particular country dominated?

In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

Who is this year's defending champion?

That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

What is the trophy called?

The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

Which Opens have been the most memorable?

Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.

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Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 8:41 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.

According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm each can grab the top spot in the world ranking.

Thomas’ path is the easiest. He would return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finishing worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.

Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.

And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish of worse than solo second.   

Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.