Amateur Playing Status Versus Professional Playing Status
It is our intent to operate ALD™ Championship Series as an amateur competition. To do so, we must be clear on the definition of amateur status versus professional status. We have found this subject is widely misunderstood among competitors. Our rules state that professionals must apply to the USGA for and receive reinstatement prior to competing as an amateur in our competition. In the sport of long drive there are many competitors who have entered professional competition, and failed to win prize money….or won very little prize money. In determining amateur status, the amount of prize money only comes into play when determining the length of the waiting period for reinstatement. Simply put, being a professional is based upon ones intent to compete for prize money rather than the receipt of prize money.
The Question of Qualifiers
Any qualifier (that does not pay prize money),and has a separate entry fee from that of the event for which qualification is targeted is not a breach of the rules regarding amateur status according to the USGA. If a competitor qualifies for and event that offers prize money to the winner(s) , amateur status should be claimed and prize money waived prior to entering said event. Once any event (that pays prize money) has been entered without claiming amateur status (and waiving prize money), that competitor will remain a professional unless and until amateur status is applied for and regained. Please not there may be a waiting period.
The waiting period for reinstatement of amateur status could be immediate or several years based upon the most recent professional competition and the amount of prize money received. In a situation where the last competition was several years ago and no prize money was won, reinstatement could be immediate upon application for reinstatement to the USGA. If one has competed in the past week, the waiting period for reinstatement could be at least one year. If one competed last week and won prize money, the waiting period could be much longer.
The Decision to “Turn Pro”
Long drivers should carefully consider the level of competition and difficulty to make their way through the competition in a professional event before entering as a professional. Everyone wants to see how they stack up against the pros, and there’s a way to do that without jeopardizing amateur status. For example, WLD allows amateurs to compete and follow the USGA rules regarding Amateur Status. Competitors have the option to compete as an amateur (waiving prize money) that most should consider before “turning pro”. If you do not see that option, you should ask a tournament official to compete as an amateur. The responsibility for retaining your amateur status is yours…..not theirs. Competing in a WLD event as an amateur allows the participant the ability to compete in both ALD™ and WLD. Just remember, if you do not declare that you wish to remain an amateur, you’re a pro….and you cannot compete in another amateur event unless, and until amateur status is regained.
If you’re in the category of professional long driver who has entered an event (that offers prize money) without advancing, it might make sense for you to get your amateur status back and come compete in ALD™. Take advantage of the developmental opportunities that exist within our organization and with our associates. Make sure you can win at the amateur level before making the jump to professional. If you’re not dominating here, there’s little chance you’ll some how (miraculously) be an instant success as professional.
USGA Reinstatement Application Information
To learn more about the application process, check out the information HERE or contact the USGA Amateur Status Department at (908) 326-1025 or [email protected] with any questions about the application.