U.S. Amateur Public Links

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The U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, often referred to as the Public Links or the Publinx, was a men's amateur golf tournament, one of 10 individual amateur championships organized by the United States Golf Association. The USGA typically called the event the U.S. Amateur Public Links, which it has registered as a service mark. The tournament was devised as a championship for golfers who played on public courses, as members of private clubs were barred from entry. In February 2013, the USGA announced that the event would be discontinued after its 2014 edition, and would be replaced by a new men's amateur four-ball championship.[1]

The first Public Links was held in 1922 at the Ottawa Park Course in Toledo, Ohio. The event grew over time, from 140 entries in 1922 to over 6,000 in 1998.

The Publinx was created to provide an outlet for national competition for public-course golfers because at that time, entry to the U.S. Amateur was restricted to members of clubs that were affiliated with the USGA or (presumably) other national governing bodies. However, in 1979, entry to the U.S. Amateur was opened to all amateurs, whether or not they were club members. When the USGA announced the demise of the Publinx, it specifically stated that "the APL [Amateur Public Links] and WAPL [Women's Amateur Public Links] championships no longer serve their original mission because of the widespread accessibility public-course golfers today enjoy in USGA championships."[1]

Eligibility was similar to that for the U.S. Amateur. Golfers must follow the USGA's guidelines for amateur status, which, in general, exclude anyone who has ever played or taught golf for money. The Public Links, like the U.S. Amateur, had no age limit. However, there were two key differences in the eligibility criteria for the Public Links:

  • Entries were accepted from golfers with a USGA men's handicap of 4.4 or lower, as opposed to 2.4 for the U.S. Amateur.
  • Entries were not accepted from players who have playing privileges at golf clubs not open to the general public, and such golfers were not allowed to compete if they received such privileges between their entry and the end of the main tournament.
    • Exceptions to above: The USGA did consider some players with privileges at non-public facilities to be "bona fide public course players," specifically those whose privileges were solely due to any of the following:
      • Their enrollment in a specific educational institution.
      • Their status as active or retired members of the military.
      • Their current or former employment by an entity other than a golf club.

The Public Links was open to men and women, although very few women ever entered. In 2005, 15-year-old Michelle Wie became the first woman to advance to the match-play portion of the tournament. She was also the first woman to ever qualify for any USGA championship typically played by men.

Entrants qualified to play in the U.S. Amateur Public Links by playing one of many qualifying tournaments held at sites around the United States with players completing 36 holes of stroke play in one day. The 64 qualifiers played in the tournament proper which began with three rounds of stroke play to narrow the field to 16 players who then competed in a single-elimination match play tournament. Each match was 18 holes except the championship match which was 36 holes; before 2001, the final was an 18-hole match.)

The winner of the event earned an invitation to the following year's Masters Tournament, if he/she was still an amateur at the time of the Masters.

The 2005 edition, held in Lebanon, Ohio, drew an unusually large amount of media attention due to Michelle Wie's presence. She had stated on several occasions that she wished to one day play in the Masters, and this event was generally considered to be her best chance to qualify. Wie advanced to the match play rounds, losing in the quarterfinals to Clay Ogden, who went on to win the tournament.

The analogous event for women was the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links, established in 1977 and also discontinued after 2014 and replaced by a women's four-ball tournament.[1]

Trevor Immelman became the first winner of the Public Links to win a Major Championship with his victory at the 2008 Masters Tournament. His playing partner in the final round, Brandt Snedeker, was also a past Public Links winner.

Winners[edit]

Multiple winners[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Changes Made to USGA Championship Roster" (Press release). United States Golf Association. February 11, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  2. ^ Benjamin Wins 2009 U.S. Amateur Public Links

External links[edit]