United States Amateur Championship (golf)

The U.S. Amateur Championship is the leading annual golf tournament in the United States for amateur golfers. It is organized by the United States Golf Association.

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 22 December 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. 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 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, Jack Nicklaus twice and Tiger Woods three times (all consecutive; the only player to win three in a row). Woods' first win, as an 18-year-old in 1994, made him the youngest winner of the event, breaking the previous record of Nathaniel Crosby (son of Bing). In 2008, New Zealander Danny Lee became the youngest ever winner. 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, a separate championship called the U.S. Mid-Amateur was established for "career amateurs" at least 25 years old in 1981. This gives the best players who never turn pro a chance to play against each other for a national title.

Winners

Multiple winners

Eighteen players have won more than one U.S. Amateur Championship, through 2008:
* 5 wins: Bobby Jones
* 4 wins: Jerome Travers
* 3 wins: Walter Travis, Tiger Woods
* 2 wins: H. J. Whigham, H. 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 2008:
* 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 Amateur; 2000, 2002, 2008 Opens

Thirteen players have won both the U.S. Amateur and British Amateur Championships, through 2008:
* 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 2008:
* Ryan Moore: 2004
* Colt Knost: 2007

^ Won both in same year. Bobby Jones won the Grand Slam in 1930, winning the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open, British Amateur, and British Open.

Most times hosted

*Six
**Merion Golf Club (1916, 1924, 1930, 1966, 1989, 2005)
*Five
**The Country Club (1910, 1922, 1934, 1957, 1982)
**Oakmont Country Club (1919, 1925, 1938, 1969, 2003)
*Four
**Chicago Golf Club (1897, 1905, 1909, 1912)
**Garden City Golf Club (1900, 1908, 1913, 1936)
**Baltusrol Golf Club (1904, 1906, 1946, 2000)
**Pebble Beach Golf Links (1929, 1947, 1961, 1999)

External links

* [http://www.usamateur.org/ Official site] - most of the information is in the archive sections


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