Golf Journalists Association of Canada colleague Rick Young of ScoreGolf reported via Twitter on Wednesday (Oct. 29) that a source (he noted no confirmations have been given from either side) had told him that Brooke Henderson has signed a management contract with IMG Golf but will remain an amateur throughout 2015.
The premise is that this would allow Brooke to compete over a full schedule of events in 2015, receiving the exemption benefits of being the #1 amateur in the world along with the exemptions she has earned and can potentially earn through the power of an agency like IMG.
We cannot officially add nor take away from the information in Rick’s tweet but we can clarify a few things based on some questions we received after people noted it.
In normal circumstances under Rule 2 (Professionalism) an amateur player can sign such a deal and remain an amateur but certain conditions apply.
-(From the Rules of Golf)
“(b) Professional Agents, Sponsors and Other Third Parties
An amateur golfer may enter into a contract and/or an agreement with a third party (including but not limited to a professional agent or a sponsor), provided:
(i) the golfer is at least 18 years of age,
(ii) the contract or agreement is solely in relation to the golfer’s future as a professional golfer and does not stipulate playing in certain amateur or professional events as an amateur golfer, and
(iii) except as otherwise provided in the Rules, the amateur golfer does not obtain payment, compensation or any financial gain, directly or indirectly, whilst still an amateur golfer.
Exception:In special individual circumstances,an amateur golfer under the age of 18 may apply to the Governing Body to be allowed to enter into such a contract, provided it is of no more than 12 months duration and it is non-renewable.”
Since Brooke is just 17 (she turns 18 next September) she would have to fall under the Exception for such a signing to happen. She would need approval from Golf Canada.
So what would be the advantage of a management contract at this point you ask? An agency cannot seek money for a player under these circumstances but they can help the player secure entry into high profile events to enhance their reputation and fill out their schedule.
Signing a representation contract with an agent is also not allowed under NCAA eligibility rules. This means if a contract is in place then clearly Brooke would not be attending the University of Florida to play golf for the Gators.
While many people assume the situation is black or white – that a player must head for college or go pro, few consider the third option that this possibility brings to light – remaining an amateur and playing a full schedule outside of a college program.
There is no word yet if an announcement of any kind will be made anytime soon via any possible agent or by the Henderson family (fyi, we’ve not reached out to either at this point) but one thing we know is that there is another indicator coming that will show what her plans might be.
Based on the normal annual schedule the 2015 Team Canada (golf) will likely be named in short time. If Brooke’s name is on that team list (rather than potentially a part of the Golf Canada Young Pros program) it will say a lot about her immediate intentions.
We’ll provide updates when there is any confirmed news.
Also keep an eye for an announcement for the Team Canada Development Squad. It is also normally made around this time of year. Grace St. Germain of Orleans should be a contender for the program based on her play in 2014 including winning the Canadian Juvenile and Junior Girls’ Championships.