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USGA Announces Important Updates to Family Policy

by Maura Hutchinson

On Tuesday the USGA announced important changes to its maternity/paternity policy, in an effort to give new parents more flexibility.

The new updates were implemented to ensure players don’t miss out on their championships because of time away. Effective immediately, female golfers will now have their Rolex Women’s Golf Ranking or World Amateur Golf Ranking frozen whilst they are on maternity leave. If they receive an exemption into a USGA event while they are away, the exemption will now carry forward to the following year’s championship.

New parents (both female and male), who qualify for or gain an exemption into a USGA championship, can now defer playing in said event for one year while they are out on maternity/paternity leave. There is also an option to extend this deferment for a second year, but this will be decided at the discretion of the USGA on a case by case basis.

The USGA’s decision to look at how new parents are effected by taking time off, is a progressive and much-needed step to ensure players are able to make the best decision for both their families and career. The governing body worked closely with players, including two-time major winner Stacy Lewis, to design the policy updates. Lewis was granted an exemption into last year’s U.S. Women’s Open after returning from her six-month maternity leave.

“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.”

On Tuesday the USGA’s Twitter post regarding the announcement simply stated “Family over everything .” We couldn’t agree more!