United States Amateur Championship (golf)
|Location||Pebble Beach, California (2018)|
|Course(s)||Pebble Beach Golf Links (2018)|
|Length||6,816 yd (6,233 m) (2018)|
|Format||Stroke play and match play|
The United States Amateur Championship, commonly known as the U.S. Amateur, is the leading annual golf tournament in the United States for amateur golfers. It is organized by the United States Golf Association and is currently held each August over a 7-day period.
In 1894 there were two tournaments called the "National Amateur Championship". One of them was played at Newport Country Club and was won by William G. Lawrence, and the other took place at St Andrew's Golf Club and was won by Laurence B. Stottard. This state of affairs prompted Charles B. Macdonald of the Chicago Golf Club to call for the creation of a national governing body to authorize an official national championship, and the Amateur Golf Association of the United States, which was soon to be renamed the United States Golf Association, was formed on December 22 of that year. In 1895 it organized both the first U.S. Amateur Championship and the first U.S. Open, both of which were played at Newport Country Club.
There are no age or gender restrictions on entry, but players must have a handicap index of 2.4 or less. Originally, entry was restricted to members of USGA-affiliated private clubs (and, presumably, international players who were members of private clubs affiliated with their nations' golf governing bodies), a restriction that was not lifted until 1979. The tournament consists of two days of stroke play, with the leading 64 competitors then playing a knockout competition held at match play to decide the champion. All knockout matches are over 18 holes except for the final, which consists of 36 holes, separated into morning and afternoon 18-hole rounds. Nowadays it is usually won by players in their late teens or early twenties who are working towards a career as a tournament professional. Before World War II more top-level golfers chose to remain amateur, and the average age of U.S. Amateur champions was higher.
Many of the leading figures in the history of golf have been U.S. Amateur Champion, including Bobby Jones five times, Jerome Travers four times, Jack Nicklaus twice and Tiger Woods three times (all consecutive; the only player to win three in a row). In 1993, Woods got knocked out to Kingshill Golf Club's Paul Page 2&1 in the last 16, but Woods' first win, as an 18-year-old in 1994, made him the youngest winner of the event, breaking the previous record of 19 years 5 months set by Robert A. Gardner in 1909. In 2008, New Zealander Danny Lee became the youngest ever winner, only to be eclipsed by 17-year-old An Byeong-hun the following year. Before the professional game became dominant, the event was regarded as one of the majors. This is no longer the case, but the champion still receives an automatic invitation to play in all of the majors except the PGA Championship. In addition, the runner-up also receives an invitation to play in the Masters and the U.S. Open. However, the golfers must maintain their amateur status at the time the events are held (unless they qualify for the tournaments by other means).
As the Amateur Championship is dominated by future professionals, in 1981 a separate championship called the U.S. Mid-Amateur was established for "career amateurs" at least 25 years old. This gives the best players who never turn pro a chance to play against each other for a national title.
While most players at the U.S. Amateur advance through sectional qualifying, a few players are exempt each year.
- Winners of the U.S. Amateur each of the last ten years.
- Runner-up of the U.S. Amateur each of the last three years.
- Semi-finalists of the U.S. Amateur each of the last two years.
- Quarter-finalists of the U.S. Amateur the previous year.
- Any player who qualified for the current year's U.S. Open.
- Those returning 72 hole scores from the previous year's U.S. Open.
- The amateur with the lowest score from the current year's U.S. Senior Open.
- From the U.S. Mid-Amateur: winner each of the last two years and runner-up from the previous year.
- From the U.S. Amateur Public Links: winner each of the last two years and runner-up from the previous year. Because the Amateur Public Links was discontinued after its 2014 edition, the runner-up exemption disappeared after the 2015 U.S. Amateur, and the winner's exemption disappeared after 2016.
- From the U.S. Junior Amateur: winner each of the last two years and runner-up from the previous year.
- From the U.S. Senior Amateur: winner each of the last two years and runner-up from the previous year.
- Playing members of the two most recent Walker Cup teams.
- Playing members of the two most recent U.S. Eisenhower Trophy teams.
- Playing members of the current year's U.S. Men's Copa de las Américas team.
- Winner of the current year's individual NCAA Division I Championship.
- Winner of the British Amateur Championship each of the last five years.
- Top fifty golfers in World Amateur Golf Ranking.
In all cases, the exemptions only apply if the player has not turned professional as of the tournament date.
Eighteen players have won more than one U.S. Amateur, through 2017:
- 5 wins: Bobby Jones
- 4 wins: Jerome Travers
- 3 wins: Walter Travis, Tiger Woods
- 2 wins: H. J. Whigham, Chandler Egan, Robert A. Gardner, Chick Evans, Francis Ouimet, Lawson Little, Bud Ward, Willie Turnesa, Harvie Ward, Charles Coe, Jack Nicklaus, Deane Beman, Gary Cowan, Jay Sigel
Eleven players have won both the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open Championships, through 2017:
- Jerome Travers: 1907, 1908, 1912, 1913 Amateurs; 1915 Open
- Francis Ouimet: 1914, 1931 Amateurs; 1913 Open
- Chick Evans:^ 1916, 1920 Amateurs; 1916 Open
- Bobby Jones:^ 1924, 1925, 1927, 1928, 1930 Amateurs; 1923, 1926, 1929, 1930 Opens
- Lawson Little: 1934, 1935 Amateurs; 1940 Open
- Johnny Goodman: 1937 Amateur; 1933 Open
- Gene Littler: 1953 Amateur; 1961 Open
- Arnold Palmer: 1954 Amateur; 1960 Open
- Jack Nicklaus: 1959, 1961 Amateurs; 1962, 1967, 1972, 1980 Opens
- Jerry Pate: 1974 Amateur; 1976 Open
- Tiger Woods: 1994, 1995, 1996 Amateurs; 2000, 2002, 2008 Opens
Thirteen players have won both the U.S. Amateur and British Amateurs, through 2017:
- Walter Travis: 1900, 1901, 1903 U.S.; 1904 British
- Harold Hilton:^ 1911 U.S.; 1900, 1901, 1911, 1913 British
- Jess Sweetser: 1922 U.S.; 1926 British
- Bobby Jones:^ 1924, 1925, 1927, 1928, 1930 U.S.; 1930 British
- Lawson Little:^ 1934, 1935 U.S.; 1934, 1935 British
- Willie Turnesa: 1938, 1948 U.S.; 1947 British
- Dick Chapman: 1940 U.S.; 1951 British
- Harvie Ward: 1955, 1956 U.S.; 1952 British
- Deane Beman: 1960, 1963 U.S.; 1959 British
- Bob Dickson:^ 1967 U.S.; 1967 British
- Steve Melnyk: 1969 U.S.; 1971 British
- Vinny Giles: 1972 U.S.; 1975 British
- Jay Sigel: 1982, 1983 U.S.; 1979 British
Two players have won both the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Amateur Public Links in the same year, through 2017:
Most times hosted
|2019||119th||Pinehurst Resort & Country Club||Pinehurst, North Carolina||August 12–18|
|2020||120th||Bandon Dunes Golf Resort||Bandon, Oregon||August 10–16|
The U.S. Amateur results lead to exemptions into other tournaments. In all cases, the exemption holds only if the golfer retains their amateur status. All the exemptions listed below pertain to only the winner of the U.S. Amateur, unless otherwise stated.
Here are the major exemptions:
- The next 10 years of the U.S. Amateur
- The next 3 years of the U.S. Amateur (runner-up)
- The next 2 years of the U.S. Amateur (semi-finalists)
- The following year's U.S. Amateur (quarter-finalists)
- The following year's U.S. Open (winner and runner-up)
- The following year's Masters Tournament (winner and runner-up)
- The following year's Open Championship
- The next 10 years of the Amateur Championship
Here are the other exemptions:
- The following year's Monroe Invitational (top 8 + top 20 stroke portion)
- The following year's Northeast Amateur (top 8)
- "Changes Made to USGA Championship Roster" (Press release). United States Golf Association. February 11, 2013. Archived from the original on February 13, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
- USGA.com Archived July 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. – Future venues
- "The Open - Exemptions". www.theopen.com. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
- "The R&A - Conditions of Competition". www.randa.org. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
- "Exemptions – Monroe Invitational". www.monroeinvitational.com. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
- "Invitation Criteria". www.northeastamateur.com. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
- Official site - most of the information is in the archive sections