Amateur Forfeits Status After Skins Game
By mustang6560 on 11/9/11
Next time you win in a skins game, make sure the amount totals less than $750 or the USGA might professionalize your status.
The United States Golf Association on Oct. 20 ruled that McCaffrey “professionalized his playing status” on Aug. 21 by accepting $8,500 in prize money from a skins game at Beeville Country Club. Accepting prize money is a violation of Rule 3 of the USGA’s Rules of Amateur Status.

. . .

“The USGA ruling follows a lengthy investigation,” Goode said. “As soon as he accepted the prize money, he professionalized his status.”
Mike McCaffery, the individual who lost his amateur status, is a well known amateur player in Texas. And from the sounds of it, he seems like a very successful golfer. Most recently, he won the Texas Golf Associations Mid-Amateur Championship in September, but because his status was retroactively professionalized in August, he had to forfeit his victory.

Part of me feels bad for Mike because he lost his status over a skins game, but the majority of me think it's his own fault. As an outstanding amateur player, it is his responsibility to know and understand the USGA rules on amateur and professional status (see Rule 3-2). Further, he had his amateur status reinstated by the USGA after years of playing in mini tour events so how he didn't know about the prize limit is beyond me.

Mike said he hired an attorney and plans to appeal the ruling. His defense is it was a skins game and as soon as he realized the prize was above the USGA limit, he returned it to Beeville Country Club. But according to the USGA, "after-the-fact-repayment" is not a valid defense to the violation.

I'm very interested to see how this plays out.

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photo via Chasing Birdies

[ comments ]
Jrboy says:
How do you enter a skins game that pays out the amount? The tournament organizer should have know this as well.
sanphred18 says:
If he turned the money back in; did he do it on his own without being told he had jeopardize his amateur status or did the USGA tell him first? Why does everyone think they need to hire a lawyer these days? I'm so tired of our society hiring lawyers for everything...damn let a few of them find other jobs for a while won't ya. It's a pretty weak thing for him to fight...get over it dude, if you're winning $8500 on a skins game, you're doing ok.
sturner50 says:
Sanphred18, I agree with you. He decided to take the $8500. I'm sure when he took the money he didn't give a crap about his amateur status. Sounds like he wants to remain an amateur so he can keep winning these payouts. And now he hires an attorney? What are you gonna argue, "The rule is unfair?"
sturner50 says:
Just one other thing.... Seems to me that church and golf are getting to be the last places we can go where participants follow the rules, and have respect for people and the traditions. Golf is a game where we call penalties on ourselves. I say let's keep it that way.
shootermagavin says:
seems like a small time hustler to me that cant make it on the bigger stage and happy to pick up a few bucks here and there,also a greedy barstard.
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