Hannigan on Amateur Status

golfobserver copy.jpgFrank Hannigan's latest Golfobserver.com column looks at the recent USGA/R&A Amateur Status change:

The recently announced liberalization of the Rules of Amateur Status is a classic example of the kind of thinking you get when people in power lust to exercise their power but don't know what they are doing.

Oh but this is more than a USGA bashing column, Hannigan points out something rather shocking, even when you think you've seen every USGA boondoggle.

The method of administering golf's version of affirmative action is a typical USGA cop-out in that the Association will neither pay for anything (even though it has a quarter billion dollar surplus) nor manage anything.

Instead, the burden has been lateraled over to the state and regional golf Associations, entities such as the Chicago District Golf Association and the Florida Golf Association.

According to the USGA's solemn press release, any amateur golfer can accept expenses to any golf competition provided the money is laundered through one of the associations.

As of Monday, the USGA had not issued any guidelines to the associations. It has not told them what to expect and what to do and whether they, the local bodies, have any role other than as accountants.

You would think they might run this by the local associations before announcing it. You know, in case they didn't want to do the USGA's dirty (paper) work.

Hannigan, who has long believed college golfers on scholarships should not be eligible for USGA amateur events, makes this suggestion:

The Amateur Public Links championship could again mean something other than being a means of entry into the Masters by a simple if dramatic step: deny entry to anybody who has played on a college golf team during the prior year. It would also be desirable to ban juniors — or at least those who attend or advertise "golf academies" linked to secondary schools.