Do Amateur Golfers Win Prize Money?
If you are watching coverage of the final day of the British Open golf championship today, then you may be aware that Amateur golfer Paul Dunne is in with a shot of winning this prestigious golfing title. While this will be a massive and probably life changing achievement for Paul Dunne – he would be the first Amateur golfer to have won the competition since 1930 – poor old Paul wouldn’t actually win any prize money, why?
Why don’t Amateur Golfers win any money?
According to the rules surrounding prizes for Amateur Golfers set out by the R&A, although an amateur golfer is allowed to accept a symbolic prize such as a plate, medal or trophy if they were to win tournaments, amateur golfers are not allowed to play for prize money. Only pro golfers are allowed to accept prize money if it is on offer. So, if Paul Dunne does triumph at the open today, he would not be allowed to accept the huge £1.15 million pound prize money which is due to the winning golfer. What would happen to that money then?
What happens to the 1st place prize money if an amateur wins The Open?
As we’ve established, if Paul Dunne was to win The Open today, he would not receive the first place prize money. So what would happen to that money? Would it go to the second place golfer?
The R&A have announced that if an amateur were to win The Open today, then the prize money would not go to the second place golfer, on the basis that he wouldn’t deserve it as he hadn’t played well enough to win it in the first place.
So what would happen to the £1.15 million then? The R&A have stated that if an amateur golfer were to win today then ‘The 144th Open first place prize money will be distributed proportionately among the professional players who have made the cut.’
We can imagine that Paul Dunne may have a few players lower down the leader board cheering him on towards the end of the day then, in the hope of a boost to their prize money if he were to win.
Can Amateur Golfers receive sponsorship & endorsement deals?
In 2011 The United States Golf Association and the R&A, who are golf’s most recognised ruling bodies, released a joint code referencing the sponsorship rules of Amateur Status. This code changed the rules for amateurs when it comes to sponsorship. They now permit amateurs who are 18 years of age and older to enter into contracts with agents or sponsors regarding their future as professionals — as long as they do not enjoy financial gain as amateurs — and they also allow national golf unions and associations to pay amateurs subsistence expenses to cover general living costs. These changes were intended to stop amateur golfers feeling pressured into turning pro too early, simply due to the sheer costs involved with being an amateur golfer.
A win should still boost his earnings in the not so distant future
Even though Paul Dunne may not be able to gain financially from an Open win at this moment in time due to his amateur status, you would imagine that it wouldn’t be all that long before he does turn pro if he were to win. Being the first Amateur to win The Open since 1930 would certainly make him a hot property for endorsement deals and sponsorship when he does turn pro, so even if he doesn’t gain financially right now it surely wouldn’t be long before he would see the financial benefits of his potential win.
Do you think the financial rules set out for amateur golfers are fair?