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It was reported by Jim Valli in 1983 that golfers' amateur status was under scrutiny due to them taking monetary prizes in excess of $500.
Geoff Smith managed a 'hole in one' at the 17th hole during the Otatara 5000 which made him eligible to take $1,700. Geoff turned down the money as he wanted to remain an amateur.
Valli reported that John Griffin had made the statement that "it was getting out of hand" and putting players in a difficult situation.
The problem being that if a player loses his amateur status he has nowhere to play as to play in the PGA he has to qualify through playing school or by serving an apprenticeship, or wait five years to restart the process.
Mr Norman Jennings was also worried and wanted to see big prizes for 'holes in one' be elimianted.
John Griffin, Ken Allan and John Vear took on John McDowell, Dave Spence and Peter Hope in the inaugural long driving championship.
In the Southland Championship in 1983, defending champion, Gary Radka had a lapse on the second hole which cost him dearly. The Dipton golfer, Ken Todd won the tournament and had a 74 and 75 to win by one stroke from Radka who had 75 and 75.2
Radka was disappointed in himself and said he incurred a two stroke penalty when his putt hit his partner's ball on the green at the second hole.
Reference: Valli, J. Big Prizes Put Golfers In Awkward Position. The Southland Times November 25, 1983
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