With the advent of Name, Image and Likeness compensation available to college athletes in the United States, the golf world is also reinventing the rules that determine whether a golfer is considered an amateur or a professional.
The USGA and R&A have published the modernized Rules of Amateur Status, making a needed update to the rules that govern qualifying for scores of championships around the world based on the status of being an amateur player. Under the new Rules of Amateur Status, there are now only four ways golfers can lose their amateur status:
- Accepting a prize with a value exceeding the prize limit ($1,000/£700) or accepting prize money in a handicap competition
- Playing as a professional
- Accepting payment for giving instruction (although all current exceptions still apply, such as coaching at educational institutions and assisting with approved programs)
- Accepting employment as a golf club professional or membership of an association of professional golfers
How much money can an amateur golfer now accept in prize money?
The Rules of Amateur Status still indicate that taking prize money in a handicap competition is against the rules and would require a player becoming considered a professional. However, in a scracth competition, an amateur golfer can earn up to $1,000, primarily to help cover expenses.
This cap on the value of a prize that can be awarded to an amateur player also applies to what are dubbed "tee-to-hole" competitions. However, the key distinctions to note here are that there are no longer prize rules that relate to long-drive, putting and skills competitions that are not played as part of a tee-to-hole competition.
The new rules also eliminate any restrictions on an amateur golf relating to advertising, expense-related and sponsorship.