- U.S. Amateur
The United States Golf Association (USGA) has organized the United States Amateur Championship, better known as the U.S. Amateur, since its inception in 1895. Two “National Amateur” events had been played the year before, but C. B. Macdonald of the Chicago Golf Club scuppered both tournaments, compelling the five core clubs at the forefront of the game in America (St Andrew’s Club of Yonkers, Shinnecock Hills, The Country Club of Brookline, Newport CC and Chicago Golf Club) to unite to oversee the proper running of such a prestigious golf tournament.
This resulted in the formation of the Amateur Golf Association of the United States (as it was originally named) and the inauguration of the U.S. Amateur at Newport Country Club in Rhode Island. Ironically, C. B. Macdonald won the first event by the record margin of 12 & 11 against Charles Sands, a golfer and tennis player who would go on to compete in two Olympic Games.
Thirty-two amateurs participated in the inaugural event and, by the time that sectional qualifying was introduced in 1931, the number entering had increased to nearly 200. In 1947, entries had risen to just over a thousand. For some reason, the competition became a stroke play event in 1965, but that only lasted for eight editions, returning to match play in 1973. A further refinement was introduced in 1979 (with entries at almost 4,000) to bring in stroke play qualifying.
Nowadays, after two days of stroke play competition, the leading 64 competitors then revert to a knockout match play set-up. All ties are played over 18 holes, except the final, which is a 36-hole affair with two 18-hole rounds on the same day. The champion receives an invitation to play in the Masters Tournament, The Open and the U.S. Open, as long as they retain their amateur status.
The U.S. Amateur Trophy was presented by the USGA’s first president, Theodore A. Havemeyer (who was also co-founder of Newport Country Club, where the first competition was held) but the original ornate silver trophy was lost in a fire at East Lake County Club in November 1925 – club member Bobby Jones had claimed his second title only months earlier – so a new, gold-plated steeple cup with an extended base to accommodate additional engraving was brought in as a replacement.
Bobby Jones contested seven finals between 1919 and 1930, winning five, and Tiger Woods is the only golfer to win three successive finals, from 1994 to 1996. Only seven non-Americans lifted the Havemeyer Trophy during the first 100 years of competition but already in the new millennium there have been nine victories claimed by foreign golfers, including Eduardo Molinari from Italy (2005), Richie Ramsey from Scotland (2006) and Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick in 2013.
Eighteen players have won more than one U.S. Amateur and eleven players have won both the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open. Thirteen U.S. Amateur champions have also won The Amateur championship on the other side of the Atlantic. Only one name appears in all three of these groupings – the late, great Bobby Jones, who captured the Grand Slam in 1930; The Open, U.S. Open, The Amateur and U.S. Amateur.
Two clubs have hosted the event six times (Merion Golf Club in Ardmore and The Country Club in Brookline) and it has taken place at another two clubs five times (Oakmont Country Club and Pebble Beach Golf Links). Three other clubs (Baltusrol, Chicago and Garden City) have all organized the event four times though it’s perhaps unlikely that the latter two will ever get the opportunity to do so again – Chicago’s last involvement was in 1912 and Garden City in 1936.
A handful of courses no longer exist so you will not see them among the entries listed below. They are the original Baltusrol course (1904), Englewood in New Jersey (1906), Euclid in Ohio (1907), Alderwood in Oregon (1937) and Omaha Field Club in Nebraska (1941).
U.S. Amateur Top 100 Leaderboard
B-NL Challenge Trophy