For any crossover fans of amateur golf and the LIV Golf Invitational Series, two names stick out among the field of 312 at the 2022 U.S. Amateur.
Arizona State senior David Puig and Thailand’s Ratchanon “TK” Chantananuwat have competed as amateurs in the upstart circuit led by Greg Norman and backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, with both making starts at the inaugural event in London back in June. The 54-hole, no cut event at the Centurion Club was Chantananuwat’s lone start, while Puig also competed in last month’s event at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.
According to LIV Golf’s year-to-date money list, Chantananuwat has earned $136,000 with Puig at $267,000.
“We have had conversations with both players regarding their relationship with LIV Golf and, based on that discussion, we have affirmed their status as an amateur golfer and that they are both eligible to compete this week at the U.S. Amateur,” the USGA said via a statement to Golfweek.
When the USGA began a full Rules overhaul in 2019 it continued with the finalization of the new Rules of Amateur Status, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2022. The modification was made to draw a clear line between an amateur and a non-amateur rather than defining what it means to be a professional.
The only ways a player can lose amateur status are as follows:
Accepting a prize with a value exceeding the prize limit ($1,000) or accepting prize money in a handicap competition.
Playing as a professional.
Accepting payment for giving instruction (although all current exceptions still apply, such as coaching at educational institutions and assisting with approved programs).
Accepting employment as a golf club professional or membership of an association of professional golfers.
Both players are listed on the LIV website as amateurs, meaning they could accept no more than $1,000 of their earnings per LIV event.
Puig told the Golf Channel in May that he’s not directly receiving any of the tournament prize money. The story also noted how a source said amateurs in LIV fields could be compensated through other means, such as a name, image and likeness deal. Puig plans to turn professional after the 2023 NCAA Championship, which will be held for the final time at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale near Arizona State.