News from Around the Green

The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.

TGA Championship Department Updates

The TGA Championship Department has announced several updates ahead of the new season as part of its annual review to continually elevate the elite tournaments it provides for members across the state.

These updates will go into effect in January 2024, and include:

USGA National Amateur Exemptions for TGA & LJT Champions

Beginning in 2024, the United States Golf Association (USGA) will award exemptions to four of its premier amateur championships to the winners of the Texas Amateur, Women’s Texas Amateur, and Texas Junior Amateur (Boys and Girls 15-18 Divisions). The TGA and LJT state champions will earn exemptions from qualifying for their respective national championships, including the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Women’s Amateur, U.S. Junior Amateur, and U.S. Girls’ Junior.

The USGA’s decision to award these exemptions is based on starting field rankings received by the select TGA and LJT events over the last three years, which have proven to be some of the strongest among the country’s leading golf associations’ statewide competitions of a similar nature.

Additional TGA Tournament Exemption Categories

The addition of new exemption categories for 2024 are geared to promote playing up through TGA events, starting with Regional Series Tournaments and on through Statewide Championships. Having the strongest fields possible has always been a top priority for the TGA, as well as rewarding players for top performances.

The new exemption categories include:

West Texas Amateur

· Addition of top finishers from Regional Senior Amateurs earning exempt player status for West Texas Amateur Senior and Super Senior Divisions

Texas Senior Amateur

· Increase from top 5 to top 10 finishers and ties from West Texas Amateur Senior Division

· Addition of top 3 and ties from West Texas Amateur Super Senior Division

· Addition of top 3 and ties from Regional Senior Amateurs’ Super Senior Divisions

· Increase from top 3 to top 5 finishers from Texas Super Senior Amateur

An additional update for the Texas Senior Amateur Championship includes an increase in the number of qualifying sites across Texas from 5 in 2023 to 8 in 2024.

Change to Women’s Texas Amateur

The Women’s Texas Amateur will have a new streamlined look that is intended to benefit both players and host clubs. The championship match-play format remains essentially the same, but it will no longer include consolation rounds.

The 96-player starting field will compete in match play in either the championship flight (32 players) or one of the eight additional flights (8 players in each). Once the final draw has been determined following the 18-hole stroke play qualifying round, it will now be single-elimination. The winners of the 18-hole matches advance to the next round, while the players who have been defeated are eliminated from the tournament. At the end of the week, an overall champion will be crowned along with the eight flight winners.

TGA Rules Committee

The TGA will reestablish its Rules Committee in 2024. The committee will be comprised of the TGA’s top volunteer Rules Officials, who have dedicated their time and effort to learning the rules and how to administer them at tournaments. The prominent volunteers in the committee will include the best minds regarding the rules as well as individuals with a proven record of accomplishment of being onsite at events helping players get around the golf course.

The TGA could not do what it does at such a high level without the help of all its volunteers throughout the year. This committee is an effective way to highlight those who have dived into the rules very deeply and display a great understanding.

Members of this committee must meet established criteria and will serve a term length to be determined. When each member’s term expires, they will have the opportunity to remain on the committee provided they continue to meet the criteria. These individuals will be members of the Rules Committee at specific TGA tournaments as well as conferred with regarding the annual “Hard Card” and when clubs reach out to conduct educational rules seminar for its members.