U.S. Walker Cup candidate Mike Miller is headed to Europe for 25 days to compete in several European amateur events. Miller, the reigning two-time Metropolitan Golf Association player of the year, is writing a blog for the MGA's Web site (MGAGolf.org) during his travels. His blog also is running in its entirety on Golfweek.com.
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Blog No. 5
I was able to play the European Club on Feb. 21, where we will be playing the Carey Cup matches in April. Let me tell you .... I am really happy we are playing match play. On the front nine, you really have to know where you are going. It is very tight. A lot of trouble, well, everywhere! If you hit your ball in the bunker you are playing out sideways. Other than that, the front nine is fine!
The back nine runs along the water, and they are just some of the most unbelievable holes and views I have ever seen. The wind blows sideways every day and the club is really looking forward to having us there. It is going to be a challenge, and once again I am glad it is a match-play event.
Friday (Feb ...
Drug testing is coming to the U.S. Amateur.
The U.S. Golf Association informed past U.S. Amateur participants Tuesday that drug testing will occur at the 2013 U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur.
The USGA began drug testing at the 2009 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open. This is the first time it will test at an amateur event. The U.S. Amateurs, like the Opens, will follow the International Golf Federation’s Anti-Doping Policy, which adopts the World Anti-Doping Agency List of Prohibited Substances.
Joe Goode, the USGA’s managing director, communications, said golf’s inclusion in the 2016 Olympics was the reason behind the decision. “The USGA has determined that it is in the best interest of the sport of golf and the players to begin the introduction of drug testing with a program that is approved by the International Olympic Committee,” Goode said. There are no current plans to expand the program to other USGA amateur championships, he added.
The majority of competitors at the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur are college athletes, who are subject to NCAA testing. “I don't see any problem ...
When the United States Golf Association announced Monday that the U.S. Amateur Public Links, the association's fourth-oldest golf championship, would cease to exist after 2014, I immediately thought of Clark Standish, a member of the APL committee for nine years as well as the grandson of the event's founder, the late James Standish Jr.
In 2009, Clark Standish was kind enough to share time with me for an article I wrote, which, in part, questioned the viability of the event. A few days later, I received a letter from him heaping one more layer of praise on his visionary grandfather. It was a touching note, and I tucked it away for safe-keeping. On Monday, I pulled it out and called him.
So what was his reaction to the news that the event that awards a trophy named for his grandfather soon would no longer be hoisted? Standish sounded like ever the good soldier.
"It became apparent that there was so much overlap with the U.S. Amateur that a lot of the spirit of the APL got lost in the state of the game these days," he said. "So I do understand, but I am sad about ...
Editor's Note: This story first appeared in the May 2, 2009 issue of Golfweek
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When Trevor Immelman and Brandt Snedeker played in the final pairing at the 2008 Masters, it was cause for celebration as well as alarm. The former U.S. Amateur Public Links champions had reached the pinnacle of the professional game. Yet to some, the pairing symbolized how far the APL had strayed.
In the last 30 years, the APL and its sister event, the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, have been dominated by youngsters bound for the professional level.
“I struggle to find the last champion older than 25,” U.S. Golf Association executive director David Fay said.
No one older than 22 has won the APL since Tim Hogarth, 30, in 1996. Hogarth refers to himself as the last “working stiff” to have won it. Beginning with Jodie Mudd in 1980, nearly every champion has turned pro (even Hogarth, before regaining his amateur status). APL winners’ calloused hands are from hitting balls, not hard labor.
“The days of a bus driver or guy who works at the grocery story winning the Publinx are gone,” said Hogarth, a vitamin salesman. “It’s become ...
An unprecedented move by the U.S. Golf Association will end a pair of national tournaments that lost their uniqueness some time ago.
The USGA’s two championships for public-links players will cease after 2014, replaced by two national championships for a format new to the national scene: the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship and U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship, which will begin in 2015.
The U.S. Amateur Public Links and U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links are the first USGA championships to be retired, according to John Bodenhamer, the association’s managing director, rules, competitions and equipment standards.
“It has been clear for some time that the APL and WAPL no longer serve their original purpose,” Bodenhamer said in an email to Golfweek.
The APL, started in 1922, is the USGA’s fourth-oldest championship. The WAPL dates to 1977. Many will theorize that the championships’ demise was caused by college players’ domination, which minimized the everyman appeal of a championship created for truck drivers, teachers and the like. Bodenhamer said the fields’ demographics weren’t the “primary” factor to pull the plug.
Instead, it was the 1979 decision to open all USGA championships to public-links ...
The Jones Cup is one of the premiere amateur events of the year. It’s also the first. Here’s 5 Things we learned as the amateur season kicked off last weekend at Ocean Forest:
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Sean Dale’s victory was his first in an elite amateur tournament. He didn’t come out of nowhere, though missed time may make it seem that way. Dale was a second-team All-American for North Florida in 2010. He’s played just one season since. He redshirted the 2010-11 season because of a knee injury and sat out this fall to pursue PGA Tour Q-School; he advanced to the second stage before bowing out. Dale was No. 25 in last season’s Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings and an honorable-mention All-American. He also was a quarterfinalist at the 2012 Western Amateur and finished fourth at the Players Amateur.
Dale, 23, is a fifth-year senior at North Florida. Winning the Jones Cup puts him solidly in contention for a spot on the Walker Cup team, should he decide to remain amateur until September. He moved up 51 spots in the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking to No. 33.
Not only did Dale shoot Sunday’s low ...
SEA ISLAND, Ga. – Sean Dale sought a PGA Tour card last fall. Falling short of that goal allowed him to win one of the nation’s premiere amateur events.
Dale, a North Florida senior, won the Jones Cup on Sunday with a 3-under 213 total at Ocean Forest Golf Club. He finished two shots ahead of Abilene Christian’s Alex Carpenter (71) and Alabama’s Cory Whitsett (75). Dale started the final round four shots behind Whitsett, but shot Sunday’s best score, a 3-under 69.
Dale, 23, didn’t play for North Florida during the fall season in order to participate in the final Q-School that offered PGA Tour cards. The Jones Cup was Dale’s first event since bowing out at Q-School’s second stage. He joins a winner’s list that includes PGA Tour players D.J. Trahan, Nicholas Thompson, Luke List, Kyle Stanley and Patrick Reed, as well as recent winners Justin Thomas and John Peterson.
Dale was the first player to finish under par at the Jones Cup since Rees Jones renovated Ocean Forest in 2007. The previous four Jones Cups were won with scores of even-par or higher. Dale’s 69 was one of ...
SEA ISLAND, Ga. – Alex Carpenter has relieved some self-imposed pressure, and now finds himself on the leaderboard at one of the nation’s top amateur events.
Carpenter is fourth after two rounds of the Jones Cup after shooting consecutive rounds of 72. He finished Saturday’s second round with a birdie after hitting 4-iron to 3 feet at Ocean Forest’s difficult 18th hole. He’ll start the final round four shots behind Cory Whitsett.
Carpenter is a senior at Abilene Christian, a Division II school in Texas. He was among the nation’s elite collegians, irrespective of division, in 2011. He won the Jack Nicklaus Award as the NCAA Division II player of the year, represented the United States at the Palmer Cup and beat an elite field at that year’s Southern Amateur.
That success led to high expectations, though. The PGA Tour’s changes to its qualifying structure also had him thinking about a premature leap to professional golf. He debated turning pro in 2012 to play the final Q-School that offered PGA Tour cards, but his results suffered as he started playing too aggressively.
“I was just putting too much pressure on myself,” Carpenter said. “I ...
SEA ISLAND, Ga. – Tony Boselli made a career of protecting quarterbacks as an offensive lineman in the NFL. On Saturday, he helped a friend navigate his way around a course that does a good job of protecting par.
Boselli caddied at the Jones Cup on Saturday for Alabama junior Cory Whitsett, who shot 72 to take a three-shot lead into the prestigious event’s final round.
Whitsett is at 4-under 140 (68-72) after two rounds at Ocean Forest, site of the 2001 Walker Cup. His closest pursuers are two international players in their first season with U.S. colleges: Florida State’s Rowin Caron and Kentucky’s Ben Stow. Caron, of the Netherlands, shared the 18-hole lead with Whitsett, but shot 75 Saturday. Stow, of England, shot Saturday’s low round, a 2-under 70. They’re the only three players under par after two rounds.
Whitsett is trying to become the second consecutive Alabama player to win this event. Justin Thomas earned the title in 2012.
“A lead doesn’t mean much around here,” Whitsett, No. 48 in the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking, said of his three-shot lead. “It can be gone really fast. It doesn’t mean ...
SEA ISLAND, Ga. – One is headed overseas. Another is PGA Tour-bound. Mike Miller and Peter Williamson both have creative ways to fill their schedule until the Walker Cup.
Both players are in a transition stage in their career. They don’t want to begin their professional careers until after September’s Walker Cup. They’re not mid-amateurs (age 25 or older), but aren’t playing college golf, either. Miller, 20, played one semester at Penn State. Williamson, 22, graduated from Dartmouth last June.
Miller, who shot a first-round 76 Friday at the Jones Cup, leaves next week for the Portuguese and Spanish amateur championships. Williamson will make his next start at the PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational. He opened with 84 at Ocean Forest Golf Club.
Miller first travelled overseas last year, finishing fourth at both the Lytham Trophy and Irish Amateur. He played the events after meeting the Golfing Union of Ireland’s Pat Finn at the Carey Cup, a Walker Cup-style match between New York’s Metropolitan Golf Association and GUI.
Miller, No. 25 in the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking, will play the Azalea Invitational before heading to Ireland for this year’s Carey Cup ...
SEA ISLAND, Ga. – Ocean Forest is about as tough as they come. No player has shot under par for 54 holes in the past four Jones Cups. That may explain why the first-round co-leaders used a rare feat en route to 68s.
Alabama’s Cory Whitsett and Florida State’s Rowin Caron, the Netherlands’ top-ranked amateur, each made eagle Friday by holing out from more than 100 yards. They’re two shots ahead of the field. Georgia’s T.J. Mitchell shot 70, while North Florida’s Sean Dale and Pacific’s Alex Edfort are another shot back. The field averaged 76.5 strokes per round Friday. Defending champion Justin Thomas shot 78.
Caron’s eagle came at the par-5 sixth. He had 162 yards remaining for his third shot after a conservative lay-up from the rough. “I just hit a little knock-down 7-iron. It landed about 8 feet short of the hole and rolled in,” he said. Caron made the turn in 5-under 31 and reached 6 under with birdie at the 13th, but bogeyed two of the final three holes. Whitsett holed out from 105 yards on the par-4 13th to reach 4 under par. He bogeyed the ...
SEA ISLAND, Ga. – Justin Thomas knew something was off during the second round of last year’s Jones Cup. Two shots hooked into hazards had led to double bogeys. “I told myself I just had to stay in it because you never know what can happen,” he said.
That’s especially true at the Jones Cup, where high scores are hardly unheard of and don’t necessarily eliminate players from contention. One slight swing change – Thomas tried to feel like he was opening the clubface on the takeaway – and some good, old-fashioned patience helped him hold one of amateur golf’s most prestigious titles at the tournament’s end.
Thomas’ double bogey at Ocean Forest’s second hole - his 11th hole of the second round - dropped him to 5 over for the tournament. It was his second double bogey that day and his third in his first 29 holes. He played the final 25 holes in 5 under to win by two shots over UCLA’s Manav Shah. Thomas made six birdies and just one bogey over the final 25 holes.
It’s not hard to make up ground at Ocean Forest. Pars go a long way. Birdies are bonuses ...
The nation’s best amateur golfers have a Super Bowl tradition of their own. It’s the Jones Cup, which will be held this weekend at Ocean Forest Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Ga. The Jones Cup attracts the first elite amateur field of the year to one the toughest courses the players will face:
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Feb. 1-3, Ocean Forest Golf Club, St. Simons Island, Ga.
Notables in the field: Justin Thomas, defending champion and 2012 Haskins Award winner; Steven Fox, 2012 U.S. Amateur champion; Nathan Smith, four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion; Peter Williamson, No. 8 in R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking; Bobby Wyatt, No. 3 in R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking.
The skinny: This event began in 2001 as a preview of that year’s Walker Cup, which also was held at Ocean Forest. The Jones Cup originally was held only in Walker Cup years, but has been conducted annually since 2009. The ties between the tournaments still run deep. The Jones Cup is the first elite amateur event of the year, and serves as an unofficial start to the race for Walker Cup spots. Jim Holtgrieve, the U.S. captain, is expected to attend and scout potential team members. Ten ...
New Zealand’s Mark Brown and Australians Steve Jeffress and Stephen Dartnall qualified for the Open Championship at Muirfield through International Final Qualifying.
Brown, who started the day five shots off the pace, shot a course-record, 10-under 62 at Kingston Heath Golf Club. He produced an eagle and eight birdies to secure the first qualifying spot at golf’s oldest major championship.
This will be Brown’s second start at the Open, while Jeffress and Dartnell will be heading to their first major championship.
Overnight co-leader Cameron Smith, an amateur, was one of five players to finish one shot out of the top three spots at 7 under par.
Information from the Open Championship used in this report
Scottish golf has lost a true legend with the death of Charlie Green, who has died of cancer at age 80.
Green arguably was the best amateur ever to come out of the Home of Golf. Born in Dumbarton, Scotland, in 1932, Green played in five Walker Cups from 1963 to '73, captained the side in 1983 and '85, won three Scottish Amateur Championships, six British Senior Amateur Championships and won the silver medal as leading amateur in the 1962 Open Championship at Troon.
Cardross Golf Club west of Glasgow was Green’s home club for most of his life. He reached the top despite conceding he “couldn’t hit a barn door” when he first started playing as a boy. Yet he turned himself into a champion.
Green played on only one victorious Walker Cup team, in 1971 at St. Andrews. The Scot won two matches and lost two matches as Great Britain & Ireland defeated the U.S., 13-11.
The likes of Michael Bonallack, Joe Carr, Ronnie Shade, Peter Oosterhuis and Howard Clark were just some of the names with whom Green played on Walker Cup teams. He played against U.S. Walker Cup sides featuring Lanny Wadkins, Vinny ...
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