EQUIPMEN T // BY E. MICHAEL JOHNSON
pretty clear. If
you’ve got serious
game or a reputation for having
steer clear of
if you want to
stay an amateur.
That said, most
play in pro-ams
have games that
are far from being
with Ping, John
a pitchman for
Cobra Puma, as
is Golf Channel’s
Ken Griffey Jr. (Nike) and Justin
Timberlake (who has had an affiliation
with Callaway for several years) are
just a few high-profile examples. So
for Rule 6-2, virtually all celebrities
with ties to equipment companies
Another part amateur status
As usual, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am had its share of celebrities among the 156 amateur
participants. However, given that
some of those celebs have formal
agreements with equipment companies, a logical question is: Are those
amateurs actually professionals under
the USGA’s Rules of Amateur Status?
The USGA won’t comment on the
potential status of a specific person.
“Amateur-status issues can be very
complex, and the rules are subject to
interpretation,” said Joe Goode, the
USGA’s managing director of communications.
Complex indeed. The Rules of Amateur Status have nuances that are not
as simple as whether or not a golfer is
teeing it up for prize money. And when
celebrities enter into agreements with
equipment companies, the situation
can get murky.
Rule 6-2 of the Rules of Amateur Status covers the issue of an amateur golfer
with golf skill or reputation using his or
her name or likeness as a golfer for promotional purposes. There are two key
issues here. First the golfer has to have
skill or reputation, which the USGA
decides on a case-by-case basis. If the
player does have skill or reputation, he
or she may not promote anything.
Rules of engagement
MICHAEL PHELPS’ PING DEAL RAISES AN OLD QUESTION: WHEN IS AN AMATEUR AN AMATEUR?
regulations, however, provides pause.
According to the USGA, if an amateur golfer does not have golf skill or
reputation, he or she could promote
something provided they have not
entered into any type of oral or written contract or agreement. If he or
she has entered into an oral or written
How often do we see everyday golfers look down at an iron and say, “I just can’t look at that amount of offset—
it looks like a club for a high handicapper.” Well, try telling that to Pat Perez, a professional who has earned more
than $13 million in his career. Perez has always favored a significant amount of offset in his irons, but when he
switched from TaylorMade’s Tour Preferred MC model to the new RocketBladez Tour, the bending process required
a little more care.
“The RocketBladez Tour are made from harder steels than the Tour Preferred MC, which is why we designed a
notch in the hosel area to help make them easier to bend for adjustments such as this,” said Brian Bazzell, product
creation manager for TaylorMade. “For Pat we added 1.5mm of offset to make it about 3mm overall. That’s a lot of
offset in a small blade. He feels that helps him turn the ball over with a baby draw as well as keep the flight down.”