February 21, 2016 / 1:29 AM / 3 years ago

Australian elite agree to shell out for next generation

Aug 22, 2015; Coquitlam, British Columbia, CAN; Minjee Lee drives from the second tee during the third round at Vancouver Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia’s new wave of elite professional golfers have agreed to return a portion of their prize money to the country’s high performance program if they reach a high ranking, the sport’s national association said on Sunday.

Golf Australia’s (GA) ‘Give Back’ program will have the country’s high performance graduates contribute a “small percentage” of prize money if they reach the men’s top 125 in world rankings or the women’s top 50.

They would not be expected to contribute until having completed five years as professionals and would only be asked to give back as much as they were given during their own time in the high performance program.

“We could not be prouder that our brightest young talent are effectively putting their hands into their pockets to say thanks to all those who’ve helped them achieve their professional goals,” GA chief executive Stephen Pitt said in a media release.

“It says everything about them as people, not just athletes, that they’re prepared to help the next wave push through by giving them the same opportunities they received to reach their potential.”

All players in the country’s elite national and rookie squads since 2015 had signed the agreement, GA said.

Of them, women’s world number 17 Minjee Lee, who turned professional in Sept. 2014, has already cracked the top 50, but would not need to return any prize money until 2020.

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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