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The Picture Of 21st Century Amateurism

Steven Fox, current U.S. Amateur champion and still an amateur playing the Farmers Insurance Open on a sponsor's an amateur.

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Reader Comments (51)

Don't be so harsh, Geoff. He cleary is an amateur. He doesn't have a Tour Bag
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRyan
Is he gonna qualify for Back-Pay from TM when he turns pro?!? Jeebus, even his caddie is decked out...
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDT
Wow, this is really bizarre. Really on the fast-track to weirdsville when you consider that I have set of TaylorMade irons in my bag and I also -- are you ready for this -- sometimes WEAR A TAYLORMADE GOLF CAP.

Am I a professional? Am I about lose my amateur status? Would my changes for "amateurism" become better if I wear a Titleist cap instead?

Is this really an issue? Are we implying that young Steven Fox is virtually a pro, being carefully cultivated by the TaylorMade wizards behind the curtain who ply him with golf bags and caps? Or, don't you believe that the current U.S. Amateur champion is worthy of a sponsor's exemption that should instead go to some burned-out, 45-year-old (plus) one-time Tour player?

Show me a junior golfer at any AJGA event and I promise you that you'll see logos. They like the gear, they want to "look more pro" so they'll match up logos. Try to buy a golf bag these days and you'll see that if a company makes golf clubs, they'll put their name on a golf bag as well. Not everybody is Sun Mountain or Ogio, you know.

Let's see.... who do we pick on next?
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBenSeattle
I'm kinda with Ben on this. Until last year I always carried a Ping bag, and often still wear a Titleist hat. Doesn't mean I'm on staff with either of them (however I am available for sponsorship deals should either come calling).
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSeitz
If he plays in college he can't take FREE stuff like this.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJM
Unless he gives it back?
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
Come on, you cant possibly think he would be purposefully head to toe Adidas, no other company, his caddie too, and his headcovers?!? That it's a coincidence?

That probably even a taylormade granola bar!! ;-)
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDT
Will he give back his R1 driver? But as we know the NCAA is clueless. He plays at UT Chattanooga so he could be in trouble; if he golfed at Bama or Florida he'd have nothing to worry about, but a small school. That's example setting time!
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJM
he looks identical to the junior golfers at the events around here....

long lanky and hit the ball a ton, dressed to the "nine's"

but you have to replace the caddie with a rangefinder
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterUmp
Ben, you'll never make it as an analyst on one of E's red carpet broadcasts.

It's not just the hat and bag, but the hat, shirt, shoes, sticks, bag, all straight out of the latest TM-Adidas catalog. I was even going to speculate about the maker of the round, spherical object he strikes with his TM clubs, but after last night I'm not sure exactly what is permissible around here. (kidding, Shack).
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAce
He plays for a college program, but needs a bag? Ridiculous.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavidC
He SHOULD be proudly displaying his Chattanooga Bag, shirt and hat. NOT the TM stuff like a pro, he's not a pro.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJM
Just silly....But at least he doesn't have to paint his face....
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHilltop
JM nailed it!

The season is young and I hate those yellow shoes already.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
Someone should ask to see his receipts. And the looper's. The towel was probably swiped from a Ramada Inn somewhere around these parts.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Oh please. Anyone who thinks this guy and his looper are completely decked out like this because they just happen to like everything TM & Adidas make is naive.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterUglyPar
In the arts, there is no 'pro-amateur' distinction - ability gets rewarded. In sports we have this set of rules established by organizations whose interest probably also includes self-preservation. When I play, I want to beat the best; if they do it for a living, even better.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGate74
"Note 1 [to Rule 6-2 of the Rules of Amateur Status]: An amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation may accept golf equipment from anyone dealing in such equipment provided no advertising is involved. "

And, before someone suggests that having the logo on the bag constitutes advertising he should note that this bag, with that logo, is readily available for sale and is, therefore, permitted.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterArthur Nelson
JM called it on showing his college ID.


Winning many AM events resulting in trips to the pro shops to gather your 700 bucks (I think) worth of stuff, could get you bags and clubs and what all....but the Adidas stuff sure makes that likelihood seem , uh, unlikely.

I have never liked adidas shoes, and could never afford one of their shirts, but I do like T/M drivers ) I'm still in the R7 and R9 era--always cheaper to follow the latest gimmick by a season or so----I hated the white look, so the R11 is not a consideration, not to mention, I'm on IR at this time.

... so anyway back to the AM....let the boy play Ben; if he's broken some status deal, he is the one not going to the Masters, for some crummy shirt, and a new pretty one wood.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
I heard he won the second flight in the Member-Guest at his home club last month and bought all that stuff with club credit in the pro shop!
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTadpole
@arthur - the rules for NCAA athletes are MUCH different than for amateur golfers. As an amateur, he's allowed to take whatever he wants from golf companies. As an NCAA athlete, he can't as much accept a ride home from a unrelated sport's coach from his college in a pounding rain storm. Coach would be fired, and he'd be kicked off the team.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterOldManPar
digger, thriftiness is a virtue ;) The original black SuperFast TP is as far as I've made it on the technology curve with TM. Have R9 also, and white doesn't work for me either! Heck, I pulled an old 580XD tour head out for the round last Saturday and paired it with 300 Series 3-wood....THAT is one fine looking 3-wood!
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
This is a link to a story about the leading woman amateur in the world. The picture shows her with no golf equipment logos. The logo on her hat is the New Zealand Golf Association which supports her with travel expenses.
@OldManPar, GS's comments are about amateurism (as are mine) not about NCAA rules.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterArthur Nelson
Del, the 200 FW woods were a hot commodity a while back, and the 300s were the first to get me on a TM bandwagon, after my poor results with a TM spoon.( previously disclosed)

I still have a 10.5 N R5 with an NVS to get me going when all else fails-- I have a bunch of R9 shafts, My fave a TP voodoo X, and a TP 50g superlite with a hot rod tip to make the club from a 8 to an 11 or a 7.5 to a 11.5- I can't recall. Anyway fun tinkering when I was playing.

Which brings up the bad news--my local shoulder surgeon backed out, as I have a more complex shoulder replacement than he has ever I need to go back to my guy in Austin (who was origionally going to do it) the bummer is, it is a 2 step surgery, adding at least 2-4 months until I will be able to tournaments for me this year, as it now stands. I must admit, I was very depressed when he backed out of the work.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
college golf is by and large a farce in terms of true amateurism.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTed Ray's Pipe
OK digger, let's match cards ;)

580XD Tour head (2)
R7 Shallow Tour
R5 Tour
R9 Superdeep Tour
R9 Supertri TP
R9 Tour
SuperFast TP

And that's just the drivers! Oh, and I do have an Original 7* Pittsburgh Persimmon ;) I also recently dug out a Raylor circa 1992 that I'm going to cut down to the length of a hybrid and use it as, a hybrid!

Very sorry to hear about that but maybe it's for the best....better that than him getting in there and screwing it up. Keep us posted please....
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Just because the bag is for sale means what exactly? He's advertising one brand and obviously getting it all free and scripted by Taylor Made/Adidas. He's making a mockery of the USGA rule as I see it. Tell me how he isn't?
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavidC
What DavidC asked!

Seriously, this is the most blatant abuse of that rule imaginable. At least other guys mix it up or throw in their college bag or a non-corporate visor. This guy is advertising one brand and not doing it very subtly.
01.24.2013 | Registered CommenterGeoff
It was mentioned by one of the commentators during yesterday's coverage of the Qatar Masters that all the TM/Adidas guys were decked out in yellow, a trick used by the manufacturers to promote "brand awareness" early in the season. All the TM/Adidas players in San Diego were also dressed in this yellow, the fact that Fox is dressed exactly like TM/Adidas wanted their staff players to look yesterday is embarassing for him - the Chatanooga bag should definitely have been there.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered Commentertitleist38
@ DTF..... The 580XD Tour head may still be the best driver head TM has produced. Still game one and have one in reserve if something happens to the gamer. Forget the MWT/ASP/Speed Slot stuff. The 580XD Tour with the correct shaft is still as good and as long as as anything else made today.

@Dig... The TM 200 faiways are still great. The 200 Tour TM Heads (Ridge Top/Smoothie) were even better. Best of luck with the health.

@ Titleist38 .... If Fox had his Chattanooga bag instead of the TM bag but still had the same TM clubs/apparel or TM clubs and a non TM hat would it make a difference? A few years back when Grant Spieth wore a Titleist cap at the Nelson one day then a Texas cap the next day it nearly caused a few Shack followers (perhaps even Geoff himself) to almost have a coronary.

If the rule is in place for these guys to get gear from an equipment company based on the current ROG should they turn the gear down? Being in the same spot would you turn the equipment down? Perhaps some people would be pleased if amateur players were still in a suit and tie playing hickory shafted clubs with feathery or gutta percha balls and msiing the cut by 30 shots.

We can all be upset about the golf lords and the rules the have in place and have imposed/proposed but should we really be surprised when people follow the ROG and take advantage of what they have available to them? IMO we should not.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterOWGR Fan

My guess is that he's not going to play any more NCAA events (with the intent to turn pro after Augusta). Thus he would no longer be subject to their rules. He would then, as a few have said, be subject to only USGA amateur rules. He's actually coming on a podcast I do in March. I'll ask him.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Urann
OWGR, concur on the 580. I actually have 2 as well, slightly different lofts. I switch around a lot and hadn't used that one lately, it's gonna get some more starts once things warm up. That 300 head I have is a ridge top, beautiful. Funny story, I was cutting the corner on the Red hole #16 and there it was, beat to hell, only about 7 inches of shaft sticking out of it...I sent it off and had it refinished and shafted it up, a real beauty!

Geoff and guys missed the Ping/Chattanooga headcover in there ;-) Is the kid sending a signal? Is he going to turn up for school again?
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
That's why The Masters should continue inviting the US Mid-Amateur ... the only true amateur at the tournament... the rest are pros and pre-pros.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn C
Scotland's top junior is a member at my club.He is also 'sponsored' by Taylor-Made Adidas.
He will never have to pay for an item of equipment,a lesson,fitness session or travel ever again as an amateur.Great for him-and I have no problem with that but there is no question that the equipment manufacturers groom their future players from a very early age.
And I wonder how much these guys ever put back into the game in recompence for all their help?
01.25.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchico
And his caddie looks a little like Scott Verplank.
01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLip Out
This is not new, maybe a little more blatant, but not new. I knew a couple of really good college players back in the '70s, who would receive in the mail, wrapped in brown paper wrapping, no return address, 6 dozen Titleist, a few times of year. Mainly in the summer when they weren't get balls from school. Frequency seem to correlate with how well they were playing at the time....
Rules of amateur status has changed. Players, including juniors, can accept product (shoes, clothes, bags, clubs, balls, etc.) from manufactures and not lose their amateur status.
01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterFLGolfer
WoW Del ! You win!

I have a few, but you have a museum!

R5 N
R7 TP Tour Issue
R9 TP several shafts, a couple with hot rod tips

you win.

Thanks on the shoulder thoughts ( you too OWGR ) The Doctor, my wife and I all said, thank God he was sharp enough to read the MRI correctly, and brave enough to admit it was beyond his experience to do, before he had cracked me open.

Mike U-- Should be interesting when you do the interview. I have a feeling you have it pegged, though.
01.25.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth

The Rules of Amateur Status are available at the USGA's web site -- how about you tell us which rule is being breached.

I've read those rules, have you?
01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterArthur Nelson

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