USGA, R&A to modernize rules of amateur status

The USGA and The R&A are conducting a review of the Rules of Amateur Status to make them easier to understand and apply.
The comprehensive evaluation is part of the continued joint effort to modernize the Rules by reducing complexity and ensuring the Rules effectively guide how the game is played today.
As part of a review process that began earlier this year, the governing bodies will seek the perspectives of golf’s stakeholders as an integral component of the review process, including elite amateur golfers, golf event organizers, national golf associations, professional golf associations and other industry partners.
The aim is to provide the golf community with a modernized set of the Amateur Status Rules in late 2021, with the goal of an effective date of Jan. 1, 2022.
“One of golf’s greatest benefits is that it can be played by all ages and played for a lifetime," said Thomas Pagel, senior managing director of Governance at the USGA. "It is our goal to ensure that the fundamental concept of what it means to be an amateur golfer is clear and retained to promote fair competition and enjoyment for everyone, while still addressing many issues that seek to protect the game. This is a forward-thinking approach and engaging golfers is a key component of doing what’s best for golf.”
Grant Moir, director – Rules at The R&A, said, “We will be looking at the Rules of Amateur Status carefully and considering ways in which we can modernize them and bring them more into line with the way the modern sport is played. The code remains a fundamental framework for amateur golf and we will be listening to the views of players, officials and associations to give us a fully rounded view of how we can improve them.”
In a separate move, effective Jan. 1, 2020, the USGA and The R&A will introduce one change to Rule 3-2b of the Rules of Amateur Status, which regulates hole-in-one prizes. The Rules will no longer limit the prize an amateur golfer may win when making a hole-in-one outside a round of golf, including “stand-alone” and “multiple-entry” hole-in-one events. It is hoped the change will help to promote the game and cater to new audiences as well, and eliminate unnecessary restrictions for event organizers.

New Rule 3-2b will read as follows:
Rule 3-2b. Hole-in-One Prizes
An amateur golfer may accept a prize in excess of the limit in Rule 3-2a, including a cash prize, for making a hole-in-one during a round of golf on a golf course.
An amateur golfer may also accept a prize in excess of the limit in Rule 3-2a, including a cash prize, for making a hole-in-one during contests held outside a round of golf, including multiple-entry contests and contests conducted other  than on a golf course (e.g., on a driving range, golf simulator or putting green) provided in all cases that the length of the shot is at least 50 yards.
More information on the Rules of Amateur Status can be found at www.usga.organd www.randa.org.

SOURCE: USGA/R&A


Francis nominated as 66th USGA president

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. - J. Stuart Francis (pictured), of Hillsborough, Calif., has been nominated to serve as the 66th president of the United States Golf Association.
Additionally, Christopher Cupit of Johns Creek, Ga., and Courtney Myhrum of Pittsburgh, Pa., have been nominated to the 15-member Executive Committee, a volunteer group that provides strategic and financial oversight as the policy-making board of the Association.
“The USGA continues to benefit from having an exceptional group of candidates to choose from who reflect our mission and believe in our obligation to serve the game,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA. “Led by Stu Francis, who brings his lifelong amateur competitive golf experience along with his over 40-year business career, each candidate brings a unique perspective and expertise that will make a lasting impact on the organization.”
Francis has been a member of the USGA Executive Committee for five years and has served on the Compensation, Equipment Standards and Governance committees in addition to four years as chair of the Championship Committee. An accomplished amateur golfer, Francis has competed in three U.S. Amateur Championships, two NCAA Championships and three Canadian Amateur Championships.
Francis earned his B.A. from Princeton University, where he was named First Team All-Ivy League and All-American as co-captain of the men’s golf team. Francis, who also earned an MBA from Stanford University, is currently a senior managing director for Evercore, a global investment banking advisory firm, where he leads the Silicon Valley technology practice.
Executive Committee elections will take place at the USGA’s Annual Meeting on Feb. 29, 2020, in Pinehurst, N.C. Retiring from the Executive Committee will be Robert Kain, current president Mark Newell and general counsel Richard Shortz. Current members nominated to continue their service are Anthony Anderson, Michael Bailey, Stephen Beebe, Paul Brown, Thomas Barkin, Kendra Graham, Martha Lang, Fred Perpall, Deborah Platt Majoras, Nick Price, Sharon Ritchey and William Siart.
As part of a regular review to continue to enhance the effectiveness of the USGA governance structure, starting in 2020, Executive Committee member terms will increase from one year to three years, with a two-term limit. The president’s term will also increase to three years with a one-term limit. Additionally, the elected secretary, treasurer and general counsel roles on the Executive Committee will be retired and those functions will be assumed internally by the organization’s staff leadership.
The USGA is also strategically evolving its volunteer committee structure to improve efficiency, increase opportunity and enable greater diversity in assignments. Under this approach, volunteers will be able to better tailor their experience based on where, when and how they wish to serve.
As part of the overall restructuring, the USGA Women’s Committee will also be retired in 2020. With the USGA’s evolution over the last decade resulting in many of the Women’s Committee’s duties being fully assumed by the executive management team and the Executive Committee, it was recognized that there is no longer a need for a separate committee.
The USGA is grateful to and proud of the Women’s Committee for its important contributions over many years, which have significantly enhanced the development and health of women’s and girls’ golf and the overall game. Under the new volunteer structure, current members of the Women’s Committee will continue to play important volunteer roles both in supporting the women’s game and in contributing to the USGA in many other ways. The modifications reflect the results of a multi-year review of current practices and procedures that included extensive feedback from current volunteers.

SOURCE: USGA

United States wins Women’s PGA Cup

By BOB DENNEY
PGA Historian

AUSTIN, TEXAS - Team golf, whether conducted on a televised global stage or in the cozy confines of the Fazio Foothills of Austin, Texas, is the sport’s minute-by-minute drama series.
The inaugural Women’s PGA Cup had its share of compelling vignettes Saturday as a five-member United States team dug deep to hold off Canada and capture a sparkling silver trophy by four strokes, 671-675, at the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa.
The 54-hole competition, the first international event for women PGA Professionals, opened with the U.S. owning a 10-stroke advantage only to see that cushion trimmed twice to four. The day closed on a sun-splashed tableau of rolling terrain with Canada and the U.S. dueling on the Foothills’ renowned final four holes.
The Canadians had played the demanding stretch well all week – just a pair of bogeys. So, any celebration for the Americans was on hold until the final fivesome had finished.    
“Coming down the stretch, these players fought so hard,” said U.S. Captain Suzy Whaley, president of the PGA of America. “They came out a little slow, but hung in there. They did their jobs. Each one of them had to stay in the process and control only what they could control. They came out victorious, but today was a win for women’s golf.”
Great Britain & Ireland finished third at 698, followed by Australia (715) and Sweden (725).
Brittany Kelly of Indianapolis, Indiana, was the anchor for the U.S., finishing the three days at 2-over-par 218 and earning her team’s collective water spray affection at the 18th green.
Canada was led by Christine Wong (222), while Alison Curdt of Reseda, California (223) provided the necessary “glue” to keep the U.S. in position to win a cup.
“We all needed to stick to our game plan and forget the first two days,” said Kelly, the reigning Indiana Women’s Open Champion. “I had my moments. I always like to keep it interesting. I knew my teammates had my back. This was amazing to represent your country and play with best players in the country. I think that this will grow and would love to see more countries compete.”
The U.S. Team included Seul-Ki Park of Billerica, Massachusetts, and reigning Women’s PGA Stroke Play Champion Joanna Coe of Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland. The PGA Assistant PGA Professional at Winchester (Massachusetts) Country Club, Park will be getting married next Sunday in Rowley, Massachusetts, had a 75, and Coe a 77.
The Women’s PGA Cup will be renewed in 2021, with the site to be announced.

SOURCE: PGA of America


Barbara Nicklaus earns PGA Distinguished Service Award

By BOB DELANEY
PGA Historian
 
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Fifteen years ago, Barbara Nicklaus approached her husband, Jack, and declared that there was another “major” left to be won - to provide the best healthcare for children in South Florida.
The teamwork that had been a staple of one of golf’s most honored families ignited yet again. The byproduct is today’s Nicklaus Children’s Healthcare Foundation, and Barbara Nicklaus, its chair and co-founder, is a beacon of hope for the next generation in South Florida and across the country. One of golf’s most respected ambassadors, she has been the catalyst to raising more than $100 million in the past 15 years.
Nicklaus was the recipient of the 2019 PGA Distinguished Service Award, the PGA of America’s highest honor on Nov. 5. Nicklaus, 79, followed her famous husband, who was similarly honored in 2000, and became the first sole female recipient since Patty Berg in 1995. Since 1988, the PGA Distinguished Service Award has honored outstanding individuals who display leadership and humanitarian qualities, including integrity, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the game of golf.
The award ceremony at the Palm Beach County Convention Center was held in conjunction with the PGA of America’s 103rd annual meeting. Prior to Nicklaus taking the stage, some of Nicklaus’s 22 grandchildren narrated a video presentation. That video also featured her daughter, Nan, along with patients aided by the Nicklaus Children’s Healthcare Foundation.
Barbara Nicklaus had indeed captured a “major” many times over.
“Golf has given Jack so much, most importantly it has been our vehicle to attempt to give back to the game he loved when I met him and the game that I now love, cherish and support,” said Nicklaus. “We always want to be successful, and I don’t mean as in only wealth and power, but in finding meaning in our lives, testing our capabilities and hopefully making the world a better place for having passed through it.
"Jack and I feel so blessed to be able to help others, particularly children. We pray that our life’s work has made a small difference as we have tried to give back through this phenomenal game even though we could never give back as much as we have been blessed to receive. But, we won’t keep trying,” she added.
In the audience, Jack Nicklaus II, 58, watched the screen as the video presentation rolled. Seated nearby was his son, Jack Nicklaus III, 29, a lead narrator.
“My mom and dad as a team are absolutely incredible and role models for myself and my kids,” said Jack II. “I don’t know that there’s anyone prouder than myself listening to my mom’s grandkids, my kids, kids talking about my mom. It says it all.”
Jack Nicklaus III said that he was proud of the opportunity to honor his grandmother in a special way.
“My whole life, I have the name. It provokes a certain response,” he said. “It’s impossible for that to happen without Barbara Nicklaus. She raised five kids that I think turned out dang good. She kept my grandpa’s career on the rails. By the time I came around he wasn’t playing golf anymore. She’s had her hand in raising 22 grandkids. She hears enough out of her kids. The children you see in the hospital are her extended family.”
In March 2015, the Nicklauses’ support of children’s hospitals was recognized when globally renowned Miami Children’s Hospital was rebranded as Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. In November 2017, the entire Miami Children’s Health System was renamed the Nicklaus Children’s Health System. This network now features 15 outpatient centers from Miami north to Vero Beach and west to Naples.
Born Barbara Jean Bash in Columbus, Ohio, she was the daughter of a public high school mathematics instructor and became a pre-nursing student at The Ohio State University, where she met her future husband.
While her husband went on to a legendary golf career, Barbara became the mother of five children, one of the most respected wives on the PGA TOUR and a prolific fundraiser for numerous charitable organizations.
Among the Nicklauses’ favorite charities is Nationwide Children’s Hospital. When it was known as Columbus Children’s Hospital, the facility provided the emergency care to nurse their only daughter, Nan, who contracted pneumonia before her first birthday after accidentally inhaling a portion of a crayon, which lodged in her windpipe.
Today, Nan is the mother of five children, including former NFL football tight end and Florida State All-American Nick O’Leary.
Nan, 54, said that she can only smile as the story of her near-tragic episode is repeated.
“I hear the story and I think, oh my gosh, not again,” said Nan. “But, it prompted my mom and dad to do what they do today. They have a whole another family at the hospital and they love them. It has been 15 years and we have made big strides from the beginning.”
The Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, founded in 1976 and hosted by Jack and Barbara Nicklaus at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, has benefited Nationwide Children’s Hospital since its inaugural year. The Memorial has raised more than $36 million for Central Ohio charities, including over $20 million to support the programs and services at Nationwide Children’s.
Barbara Nicklaus, who was previously honored by the PGA in 1998 as the inaugural First Lady of Golf, gave the audience another reason why she has made giving back part of her DNA.   
“As C.S. Lewis said, you are never too old to set another goal or to make a new dream,” she said. “So, I will continue to dream and to set new goals and I promise that I will try very hard to make you proud that you have chosen me for this phenomenal honor.”   
 
SOURCE: PGA of America

Trempealeau Mountain Golf Club sold

TREMPEALEAU, WI - Katie Johnson, owner/broker Assist2Sell, and Eric Wilber, owner/operator Trempealeau Mountain Golf Club, are pleased to announce an upcoming change in ownership.   
The course will be sold to a family run organization from Pennsylvania, which has ties to the La Crosse area.   
Chad and Amy Landis of Holmen, will oversee all operations beginning Oct. 21.   
Their goal is to carry on the legacy of Harold and Linda Wilber, who nearly 25 years ago dreamed of a golf course on the gorgeous rolling farm fields just outside of Trempealeau. They brought to life a stunning, professionally-designed, 18-hole links style golf course.   
Under their faithful stewardship, Trempealeau Mountain Golf Club has become a treasure to the local Coulee Region community and to golfers from throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota. The new ownership team consists of business, hospitality and tourism and golf course management professionals as well as passionate and experienced golfers committed to your enjoyment.  
“As new owners, we hope to make Trempealeau Mountain Golf Club a destination golf course for golfers throughout the Midwest for years to come," said Chad Landis. "As avid golfers ourselves, we know people patronize courses to have fun and put the stress of their busy lives to the side for a few hours.
"Our mission is to provide a fun, customer-friendly and service-oriented environment. We want our guests to enjoy the course and facilities both before, during and after their round," Chad Landis added.  
Golfers of all skill levels will find ways to improve their game whether on the range or out on the course. You will see a lot of changes to the golf course and facilities during the 2020 season," he said.
Chad and Amy Landis welcome your suggestions as they build on the wonderful foundation at Trempealeau Mountain Golf Club.
“Our ownership and management team is friendly, accessible and professional, and we look forward to getting to know you in the very near future,” said Amy Landis.    
Eric Wilber, owner of Trempealeau Mountain Golf Club is filled with joy and gratitude for the community and the continuation of his mother and father’s legacy.  
“This is an answer to my unending prayers the past few months and I could not have asked for a greater gift from God," he said. "I truly appreciate the unending support and commitment I received from my agent Katie Johnson, Assist2Sell, for without her I’m certain the golf course would have been doomed.
There will be a “Meet and Greet” on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the Trempealeau Mountain clubhouse from 6 p.m.-9 p.m., catered by Blue Moon in Onalaska. All community members are invited and encouraged to join the event and meet the new owners.   
SOURCE: Katie Johnson, Assist2Sell