‘It is a far reaching set of proposals’ – R&A rules chief explains amateur changes

As the R&A unveil proposals to alter the Rules of Amateur Status, Grant Moir, the governing body's director of rules, talks about the motivations behind the potential changes The overwhelming majority of golfers are amateurs and so changes to the Rules of Amateur Status - the code that distinguishes the 99 per cent of us from professionals - has the potential to have huge impact. The R&A and USGA have unveiled draft proposals for sweeping alterations: ranging from allowing players to accept cash prizes up to a certain limit to giving elite amateurs the opportunity to obtain sponsorship to meet the demands of funding a busy competitive season. The governing bodies are inviting feedback and you can read more about what is in store, and take part, by clicking here. But following their unveiling, we sat down with Grant Moir, the R&A's director of rules, to get his insight into the proposed changes... This feels like the biggest shake up in the Rules of Amateur status for decades. Would you agree there are some fundamental changes here? There are some far reaching proposals in this document. The Rules of Amateur Status haven’t stood still – they have evolved over the years – but as golf continues to evolve and modernise it’s important the Rules of Amateur Status modernise with it. It’s a thoughtful set of proposed changes. We want to make these rules easier to understand and apply. But the key point is we think they are good for amateur golf - amateur golf at the regular club level, and also the elite level. We're acknowledging the challenges but also the opportunities that exist for elite amateur players and adjusting these rules to allow them to take advantage of those opportunities. They are considerably slimmed down compared to previous iterations… We've stripped back a lot of the complexity and, in essence, we're saying there are three ways that you can lose your amateur status: acceptance of prizes (above a limit), giving instruction for payment, or being employed as a club professional, driving range professional or a member of the PGA. When you take out the restrictions in relation to, particularly, sponsorship and expenses - those were very complex areas of the current rules - and it does enable you to cut down a lot of the wording. Do you think, overall, these new Rules of Amateur Status maintain the fundamental point of what it is to be an amateur? I do. I think the fundamental point of being an amateur is around what you can accept in the context of playing, or what your employment is. One thing we felt was very important, when we went back to basics and analysed the purpose of these rules, is that in essence they’re there to protect the integrity of the game. We don't want to increase pressure on the Rules of Golf or Rules of Handicapping. The game is self-regulating for the vast majority that play it and it is great because of...
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