From the Morning Read inbox
October 12, 2017

Set standards for amateur reinstatement 

The concept of amateurism in golf has gone out the window (“Ex-pros vs. amateurs: It’s USGA’s shame,” Oct. 10, The highest levels for USGA and NCAA golf include many “pre-professional” (junior, NCAA and amateur) or “post-professional” (mid-amateur and senior) golfers.

Over time, the USGA’s Amateur Public Links Championship became broken beyond recognition. On paper, the intent was to provide a national competition for people from all walks of life who don’t play golf for a living. Perhaps the USGA can tweak the format by creating an event for 30-plus-year-old never-professionals.

I’m not against reinstatement, but there is an easy improvement to the process by defining standards. An example could be like this:

  • Anyone holding a PGA Tour card or even a Tour  card clearly has achieved some level of success as a professional. No reinstatement.
  • Winners of a state open are quite accomplished and locally renowned. Long waiting period.
  • A shop assistant in the PGA of America who struggles to pass the Player Ability Test. Six months.


Tightening the process and documenting the reasoning isn't much to ask and would be a step in the right direction.

John Conley
Prosper, Texas


Change for USGA should begin now 

I really agree with the touring pros not getting amateur status back. It's an insult to working stiffs who bust their backsides to make time to play.

In 1980, I caddied for a friend in the U.S. Amateur, which was won by Hal Sutton, who defeated Bob Lewis, a former pro who regained his amateur status after playing with limited success on the PGA Tour.

If the vaunted USGA wants to change things, this is the chance.

I didn't renew my membership to that group due to silliness of the past couple of years.

Garen Eggleston
Galloway, Ohio  


USGA needs to draw a hard line 

Once a pro, always a pro.

There is much pride in being an accomplished amateur golfer.

When I saw Jay Sigel on the Champions Tour event in Newport Beach, Calif., a few years ago, I congratulated him on his outstanding amateur career. He looked at me, quizzically, and gave me a sincere, “Thank you very much for your compliment. I am sincerely flattered that you know that about me.”

To me, Sigel will always be an accomplished amateur. He has such class that he would never ask for reinstatement to compete internationally, I’m sure.

This reinstatement softball policy has got to stop. If you accept over $100 in winnings, you have breached the definition of amateur and, like it or not, you are now a professional.

This is just another example of why there has got to be a change in Far Hills, N.J. The current regime at the U.S. Golf Association must go.

U.S. golf is faltering because of its inability or unwillingness to draw some hard lines in the sand on several issues, and this is just another one of them. 

Dan Cahill
Santa Ana, Calif.


It’s more than a mid-am issue 

It would be interesting to see the same statistics for the U.S. Senior Open and the U.S. Senior Amateur tournaments. I’ve had the privilege of playing in both of these events and sensed that a high proportion of the “amateurs” were, in fact, reinstated pros.

Herb Weber
San Diego


An idea to eliminate the top players 

I would think that any golfer worth his salt would want to compete against the best competition. I have never been a pro and never will be, but I enjoyed playing with and against the best players I could.

If you want to eliminate the good players, make a tournament for 3 handicaps and above.

George Walker
Portland, Ore.


Nelson’s next call to duty: Team captain 

The PGA of America and the PGA Tour have created a greater recognition for our servicemen and -women at regular events, including Tiger Woods’ tournament.

The players at the Tour-sponsored Presidents Cup chose to honor our flag and country by standing at attention for the national anthem.

If players at the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup are there representing our country, why not be led by Larry Nelson, who as a 20-year-old represented our country as an Army infantryman in Vietnam?

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.


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