Each year, there are a few amateurs who end up qualifying for the Masters.
Since almost any average golfer can only dream of making it into the Masters, it is especially fun to watch what happens when an amateur makes their way into this special tournament.
Although the Masters is really all about the green jacket, the prestige, and the exemptions for years to come, there is also a large purse associated with this tournament.
Amateur golfers are not paid players, and it can get a bit confusing if an amateur wins an event.
Let’s take a look at what would happen if an amateur won the Masters golf tournament.
The answer may surprise you.
What Happens If An Amateur Wins The Masters?
If an amateur were to win the Masters tournament, they would not be able to keep the prize money.
When you enter a golf tournament, you enter as an amateur or a professional.
If you enter as an amateur, you will have to stay with this status for the entire length of the tournament.
Many people think that if an amateur wins, they are suddenly allowed to declare they are professional and keep all of the money they just won.
However, this is not the case.
The money that was supposed to be paid to the winner will be redistributed throughout the paychecks of all other players in the field.
As you can imagine, this will make golfers’ second place finish in a Masters a very impressive one.
The higher up an amateur finishes, the more money all other players in the field are going to make.
One good thing for an amateur is that the exemptions and the opportunities that are going to come out of winning a Master’s tournament will undoubtedly pay off.
It would be fairly common for a golfer to turn professional right after winning the Masters.
This helps to ensure that they can then secure contracts and sponsorships with large brands.
Amateur status in golf is a very tricky and complicated subject.
Those who are not aware of what amateur status means may not understand fully what the breaches of amateur status are and how difficult it can be to maintain your amateur status.
Let’s take a deeper look into what amateur status is and how this has such a significant impact on the game of golf.
What Is Amateur Status?
Amateur status is a classification of golfer who plays the game purely for fun, enjoyment, and competition.
The amateurs are not concerned with earning money or recognition for their play.
As an amateur, you will focus on mastering your game and deciding if you want to take it to the next level and become a professional.
The interesting thing about amateur golf is that you can easily breach the status if you are not careful.
Many average golfers consider themselves an amateur, yet they are probably taking part in gambling and competitions that could affect their amateur status.
Of course, unless you are trying to play college golf or play in the US Amateur Tour, these breaches may not have much of an impact on you, but; however, it is still an excellent idea to understand them.
You must remember that golf was initially created to be a gentleman’s game with lots of respect and hard work involved in taking the game to the next level.
This is why the USGA is so careful to protect the amateur status and the traditions of the game of golf.
What Are The Most Common Breaches Of The Amateur Status?
Some of the most common breaches of the amateur status are very easy to distinguish, and others can be a bit more confusing.
One of the main ways to forfeit your amateur status is to work as a golf professional.
As soon as you start teaching golf lessons for money or getting paid to run golf tournaments and a golf club, you will breach your amateur status.
Although there is a distinct difference between being a golf professional and a professional golfer, you must decide if you are an amateur player or working in the business.
You cannot do both.
In addition, as soon as you enter into the PGA of America’s program for becoming a golf professional and learning the business, you give up your amateur status.
Another way to breach your amateur status is to enter a tournament as a professional.
In fact, this is the way that most golfers end up giving up their amateur status at some point.
They decide they are ready to compete for money and enter their tournament as a professional.
For great players who have spent their careers coming up the ranks of junior and college golf, this is a big step.
Lastly, if you play for prize money in any way, you are forfeiting your amateur status.
The problem with this is that you won’t easily earn your status back.
It takes quite some time to become eligible to compete as an amateur again after losing your status.
Are Professional Golfers Allowed To Play On Club Competitions?
Many golfers wonder what kind of impact turning professional will have on them playing in country club type competitions.
The general thought is that this is not allowed.
However, some golf clubs have lots of professionals who are members of the club.
It is hard to tell these paying members that they are not eligible to participate, so many of them do allow professional golfers to play in the tournaments.
You will have to call the club and discuss with them what the club’s policy is.
Many will ask that you gain your amateur status back in order to play in the championships.
To do this, a golfer must meet quite a few requirements, and it may not be something that you want to deal with.
What If An Amateur Doesn’t Win Anything, Do They Keep Their Status?
Some golfers wonder if participating in an event as a professional and then not winning the event or any money would make you still eligible to be considered an amateur.
This is simply not the case.
To be considered an amateur, you will have to enter as an amateur.
If you don’t win money, that is based on your performance and not on the intention that you had when you first signed up for the event.
When you want to win money and compete at that level, you are automatically going to be considered a professional.
Can An Amateur Golfer Accept Prizes?
In addition to money, some golf tournaments will pay out prizes.
Let’s say, for instance, a golfer hits a shot that is closest to the pin.
The prize for this is a new golf driver.
An amateur golfer is allowed to accept this prize as long as its value remains under $750.
In addition, if these prizes are cash prizes, you cannot accept them.
However, things like gift certificates, gift cards, travel accommodation, or other goods and non-cash prizes are acceptable for up to $750 in value.
This includes a prize for a hole in one.
If you were to make a hole in one during a tournament that included winning a car or something similar, the value would be much more than $750, and you would have to give up your amateur status.
For the most part, people will gladly take the car and give up their status, but this is something that must be considered when dealing with these larger prizes.
However, if the hole in one is made during a round of golf and is part of the round of golf, golfers can accept that prize and retain their amateur status.
For the most part, the contests that include more than one change or a driving range contest, or a putting contest must conform to the $750 limit.
Can Amateurs Have Their Expenses Paid For?
For amateurs to have their expenses paid for, they must be very careful.
The same goes for junior golfers who are looking to turn professional.
A breach in your amateur status can cause some issues with junior golf, college golf, and then turning professional one day.
If a company or an individual wants to sponsor a junior to make it as a professional, they can, as long as they don’t spend more than $300 for any event.
Can Amateur Golfers Gamble On The Golf Course?
At this point, you should understand the concept that amateur golfers cannot collect cash prizes.
Although it would be nice to be able to collect cash, this is not part of being an amateur golfer.
Therefore, you may wonder about gambling on the course.
Golf and gambling tend to go hand in hand.
Amateur golfers interested in gambling are allowed to participate as long as they are careful about the process and how they go about it.
To gamble as an amateur, you must know the players you are gambling with.
In addition, the gambling must be optional and limited to the players in the group.
This means that there can be no other participation or large wagers from outside sources trying to get involved in the competition.
This is where things become a bit blurred, and it can look as though it is sports betting as opposed to a simple match between friends.
In addition, the gambling amounts cannot be excessive.
Therefore, if you are playing for a few dollars or even $20, this is not a problem.
If there are thousands of dollars on a match, this would likely be considered excessive and not a good idea for an amateur golfer to get involved in.
Can A Golfer’s Amateur Status Be Reinstated?
Some golfers will spend a portion of their career as an amateur and then decide to become a professional.
Other times, a professional will look back and realize that amateur status was a better fit for them.
If you want to gain your amateur status back, it is certainly a possibility.
The way to gain amateur status back is to apply for it.
Once you send your application in, you will have to notify the USGA as to when your last breach was.
In addition, you will have to consider how long you were a professional.
If you were a professional for six years or more, you would have to wait two years from the last breach of amateur status.
If you were a professional for less than six years, then you only have to wait for one year to get your amateur status back.
Some players have already let this time pass, but they have not been using their professional status.
If that is the case and you can prove the date you last used your professional status, you can easily become an amateur again.
Some cases are made on an individual basis.
Therefore, if you have spent considerable time on the PGA Tour or have won large amounts of money in some way, it may take you a little longer to gain your status back.
The first step in this process, however, is to contact the USGA and see what is necessary to get you moving in the right direction.
Most golfers have a tough decision to make because both being an amateur and a professional can be significant.
You can’t really make a decision about what is best for you until you have some plans for the future of your golf game.
Are you serious about where your game is headed? Do you think you have a chance to make it professionally?
All of these things should be thought about before deciding on the final fate of your amateur or professional status as a golfer.
Once you make the decision, it’s one that you are going to have to live with.
Hopefully, you now understand what would happen if an amateur won the Masters and what Amateur status is.
To be an amateur, you must be playing the sport because you love it, not just because you want to win money.
The prize offering in golf is continuing to become greater and greater.
Although this is a nice thing for the players involved in the game, golf is as strong as it is because it is a sport in which people can play a game they care about and enjoy.
Golf professionals will most likely agree that they never got involved in the game to play for money.
It was all because of their love for the sport.