Ernest W. "Trip" Kuehne III (born June 20, 1972) is an American amateur golfer. He is most remembered for his defeat at the hands of Tiger Woods in the 1994 U.S. Amateur, and his subsequent refusal to turn professional in favor of a successful amateur career.
Kuehne was born in Dallas, Texas. As a pupil at Highland Park High School in Dallas, he was coached by Hank Haney, who later gained renown as Tiger Woods' swing coach after Woods and Butch Harmon split in 2002. Under Haney's tutelage he won back-to-back Texas high school golf championships, an achievement shared with Justin Leonard, Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite.
At college, he enrolled at Arizona State University, where he was the roommate of Phil Mickelson. He then transferred to Oklahoma State University, where he was All-American from 1994 to 1996 and won the 1995 Ben Hogan Award. But following his defeat at the 1994 U.S. Amateur, Kuehne found he was unwilling to make the sacrifices demanded in a professional golfer's life, and concentrated instead on a career in finance after graduating with an MBA in 1997.
1994 U.S. Amateur and subsequent career
|“||I want people to realize that you don't have to turn professional if you're an All-American. There are other things out there. You can get a good-paying job, you can enjoy the game of golf and play because you love the game of golf.||”|
|— Trip Kuehne, after winning the U.S. Mid-Amateur in October 2007.|
In 1994, Kuehne reached the final of the U.S. Amateur at the TPC at Sawgrass, where his opponent was a heavily hyped eighteen-year-old Tiger Woods. After shooting 66 in the morning round, Kuehne had a six-hole advantage, and was five up with twelve holes remaining. Woods then staged the greatest turnaround in the tournament's 94-year history, winning five of the next ten holes before sinking a fifteen-foot putt on the seventeenth to win the event in what was described as "one of golf's great performances". The defeat caused Kuehne to question his own commitment to the sport and whether he really was good enough to compete. He has since said that he views the match a "blessing in disguise," although he says that he still will not watch footage of the match.
Kuehne played in three Walker Cup teams for the United States, in 1995, 2003, and 2007. He also played in four U.S. Opens, where he was the lowest scoring amateur in 2003 at Olympia Fields Country Club. Thirteen years after his Masters Tournament debut as runner-up to Woods, he returned to the Augusta National Golf Club in 2008, this time by beating Dan Whitaker 9&7 at the 2007 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon to qualify. The fulfillment of his ambition to "take my boy to the Masters", along with his other 2007 successes—he was on the winning Walker Cup team for the first time, and helped Texas retain the USGA state team title—led him to make Augusta the scene of his final competitive tournament before retirement.
Kuehne is the eldest child of Ernest W. "Ernie" Kuehne, Jr. and ex-wife Pam Kuehne. His father is a successful lawyer and businessman who says he was a hard-driving parent: "I don't think my kids are competitive by accident." All three children have won U.S. Golf Association championships, a unique feat in the organization's history. His sister Kelli scored back-to-back victories at the U.S. Women's Amateur in 1995 and 1996 before turning pro in 1998, while brother Hank, before joining the PGA Tour in 1999, won the 1998 U.S. Amateur with Trip as his caddy.
He lives with wife Dusti and son Will in Irving, Texas, and owns his own Dallas-based investment management company, Double Eagle Capital, which he started in 2005 after working as a hedge fund manager for Legg Mason. His home club is the Vaquero Club at Westlake, Texas.
U.S. national team appearances
- "Woods' birdie vs. Trip Kuehne in '94 changed fate for both", Bill Nichols, Dallas Morning News, March 24, 2004
- "Amateur Kuehne a throwback in need of a break", Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN, April 11, 2008
- "Kuehne prepares for final Masters", Alan Shipnuck, Sports Illustrated, April 1, 2008
- "Woods-Haney Remains Solid", John Hawkins, GolfWorld, October 26, 2007
- "A Trip of a Lifetime", Merrell Noden, Links Magazine
- "Chasing the Dream", Jeff Williams, Cigar Aficionado, May/June 2001
- "Trip Kuehne following his own course", Bill Nichols, Dallas Morning News, April 9, 2008
- Transcript of post-victory interview with Trip Kuehne, U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, October 4, 2007
- "Kuehne's loss a blessing in disguise", Paul Newberry, GolfWeek, April 9, 2008
- "Tiger Woods becomes youngest winner of U.S. Amateur Golf Championship", John Strege, The Orange County Register, August 29, 1994
- "Woods Sitting Pretty After U.S. Amateur Golf Triumph", Barry Cooper, New Pittsburgh Courier, September 3, 1994
- "An Interview With: Trip Kuehne", Craig Smith, U.S. Amateur Championship, Oakmont, 2003
- Player Bios, 2003 Walker Cup Match
- 2007 USA Walker Cup Team Profiles
- 103rd U.S. Open Championship - Round 4 Amateur Players
- "The run ends at the Masters", Mark Whicker, The Orange County Register, April 9, 2008
- "Kuehne routs Whitaker to win U.S. Mid-Amateur title", Associated Press/ESPN, October 5, 2007
- "With plenty of support, Trip Kuehne ends a brilliant career", Alan Shipnuck, Golf.com, April 11, 2008
- From the record for the elder Kuehne in the member directory of the State Bar of Texas.
- "The Kuehne Triple Crown", David Shefter, USGA, April 3, 2008
- LPGA Tour biography for Kelli Kuehne
- "Hank Kuehne figures short week will go long way", Brad Townsend, Dallas Morning News, September 30, 1998
- "Kuehne falls short in bid to make weekend", Bill Nichols, Dallas Morning News, April 11, 2008
- Homepage, Double Eagle Capital