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USGA’s family policy update gives expecting parents more flexibility

February 18, 2020

The USGA announced an update to its family policy that will give greater flexibility to expecting mothers and fathers.

Effective immediately for all 13 of the USGA’s championships, any player who earns or is otherwise qualified for a place in a USGA championship and cannot compete due to maternity or paternity (defined as pregnancy, surrogacy or adoption) will be allowed to defer his or her place in the championship for one year. The policy also extends to “sides,” or partners in team competitions like the Four-Ball. An additional one-year extension of a player or side’s deferral may also be requested, if there are exceptional circumstances.

New mom and two-time major champion Stacy Lewis was one of several players who provided input to the USGA on the policy update.

“I was thrilled when the USGA asked me to participate in the process to update the policy,” Lewis said in a press release. “Last year, I experienced the challenges that new parents often face and was fortunate that the USGA worked with me for my circumstance surrounding the U.S. Women’s Open. As players, we want a fair and inclusive policy, and that is exactly what this reflects.”

In addition to providing flexibility when it comes to deferring competition in a USGA championship, the policy also allows a provision which enables players to maintain their Rolex ranking or World Amateur Golf ranking before taking time off for maternity or paternity. That way, when the player is ready to return to competition, he or she can utilize his or her previously earned exemption status.

“Updating our family policy was an opportunity to support players as they welcome new family members and also to go a few steps further,” USGA Senior Managing Director, Championships, John Bodenhamer said in the release. “We are pleased to have a policy that affords players more balance between parenthood and competing at the highest levels.”

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