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Far Hills, N.J. - The United States Golf Association has approved a re-written version of the Rules of Amateur Status, which will be effective January 1, 2002. The new version will include significant changes in rulings on equipment and attempting to become a professional.

"The new organization of the Rules of Amateur Status simplifies the code," said Executive Committee member and Amateur Status and Conduct Committee chairman Peter James. "It also affords amateur players a greater chance to improve their ability without forfeiting their amateur status."

Most significantly, an amateur will be able to accept equipment from manufacturers without jeopardizing his or her status. In addition, any amateur entering any stage of qualifying for a Tour School, if he waives the right to prize money, will remain an amateur, should he not qualify. A player whose sole violation of the amateur status code was to attempt to qualify for a professional tour (including in the fall of 2001) will automatically have his amateur status reinstated on January 1, 2002.

In other changes to the Rules of Amateur status, a list of common definitions within the code will be added; any amateur who unsuccessfully applies for an assistant professional's position will retain his or her status; and, prizes up to $500 (in merchandise or gift certificates) for holes-in-one, in addition to a normal tournament prize, will be acceptable.

For more information on the Rules of Amateur Status, call John Morrissett or Donna Anderson of the USGA at (908) 234-2300.

July 11, 2001