Amateur Status Changes

ra_header_title.jpgFrom their press release:
The R&A, golf’s world governing body and organiser of The Open Championship, today announced revisions to the Rules of Amateur Status that provide amateur golfers with the opportunity to receive payment for giving golf instruction and reduce the waiting time of those who have breached the Rules, but who wish to return to amateur status. The changes to the Rules and their interpretations come into effect from 1 January 2006.

A new Instruction Rule provides that an amateur golfer may be paid for coaching golf for the first time as part of an "approved programme". Under the new Rules on reinstatement, the time amateur golfers in breach of the Rules have to wait before they regain their amateur status is reduced. The new guideline of 1-2 years brings these waiting periods in line with those for professional golfers returning to the amateur game.
Seems they decided that after the gender reassignment rule change (requiring just two years between sex change surger to be Women's Open I'm not joking) the three year wait on amateur status statement seemed a bit much. The release says the governing bodies of golf are closer than ever on their amateur "code." Except...
The two codes diverge on only one matter – hole-in-one prizes. In the new R&A Code acceptance of an excessive prize remains a breach of the Rules but carries a much reduced period awaiting reinstatement. The new USGA Code will allow amateur golfers to accept hole-in-one prizes of any value.
We'll call this the Mike Freeman rule, which if you have read The Future of Golf (p. 106-107), you know is a product of the excessive penalty paid by an Orlando amateur after spontaneously participating in the Tiger pops out of the Woods ad.

usga logo.gifDave Seanor at Golfweek details the USGA side of these changes. The expenses issue for amateurs will become official, and he explains how the rules will work for golfers who seemk expense reimbursement.