Liberty Corner, New Jersey, United States: The United States Golf Association (USGA) has updated its family policy to allow players who have earned a place in a USGA championship and cannot compete due to maternity or paternity a more flexible deferral plan.
Incorporating input from players, including Major champion Stacy Lewis, the policy gives a player or side who has earned a place in a USGA championship either through qualifying or exemption the option to defer his or her place in the championship for one year due to maternity or paternity.
The new policy also provides players the ability to request an additional one-year extension of their deferral for exceptional circumstances, as determined by the USGA.
“Updating our family policy was an opportunity to support players as they welcome new family members and also to go a few steps further,” said John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s Senior Managing Director, Championships. “We are pleased to have a policy that affords players more balance between parenthood and competing at the highest levels.”
The updated policy now includes a ranking ‘freeze’ provision that gives a player the ability to lock in their current Rolex Women’s Golf Ranking or World Amateur Golf Ranking before leaving for maternity. If the ranking meets the applicable criteria under USGA’s current exemption categories, the player will receive an exemption into the following year’s championship.
“I was thrilled when the USGA asked me to participate in the process to update the policy,” said Lewis. “Last year, I experienced the challenges that new parents often face and was fortunate that the USGA worked with me for my circumstances surrounding the US Women’s Open. As players, we want a fair and inclusive policy, and that is exactly what this reflects.” Effective immediately, the family policy is applicable to all 14 professional and amateur championships that the USGA conducts each year.