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DORAL, Fla. – Jaime Lopez Rivarola is trying hard to stick to his captain’s gameplan. Santiago Garat, leading Argentina this week at the Copa de las Americas, told his players to concentrate on their own games. Seems logical enough, except that his message to Rivarola and teammate Alejandro Tosti was slightly different than it was to female team members Maria Olivero and Delfina Acosta.
“The girls have a pretty solid game, and he knows that they can win it easily,” Rivarola said. “The difference is the guys. Alejandro shot a pretty solid round yesterday (72), and we know he can do as good as yesterday, so the key was just to concentrate on our game, not on the others'.”
Rivarola didn’t sound the slightest bit offended, and maybe it’s because Garat seems to be on to something. By day’s end, Argentina trailed Canada by one shot in the overall competition while the Argentine women were tied with Canada atop their respective division. The Argentine men were fourth.
The Copa de las Americas features men's and women's amateurs from North, South and Central ...
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DORAL, Fla. – It’s not likely team golf will ever get old for Chris Williams. The Copa de las Americas is a bonus in that way, and also because the Idaho native likely wouldn’t have been able to touch a club this week had it not been for an invitation to Doral.
“It’s fun to play for yourself, it’s fun to play for a college team but it’s also really fun to play for your country,” Williams said of this week. “Luckily I’ve done it a few more times now where I’m a little more used to it, but it’s just a lot of hype, a lot of pressure. Just a bigger stage.”
One of the more shocking revelations Thursday was that Williams, the top-ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, had never before played golf in Florida.
“You’d think (I would have), traveling everywhere that I do, but this is the first time,” the University of Washington senior said. “Obviously this is totally different grass than in Seattle.”
Here’s another surprise: Williams has been battling mononucleosis ...
A quick preview of this weekend's Copa de las Americas, being held for the first time on U.S. soil.
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Copa de las Americas
Jan. 3-6, Doral (Blue Monster), Miami
Notable players in the field: Fabiola Arriaga, Texas-San Antonio junior (No. 31 in Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings); Rodolfo Cazaubon, North Texas senior (No. 42); Chris Williams, Washington senior (No. 45) and No. 1 in R&A rankings; Albin Choi, N.C. State junior (No. 30); Steven Fox, Chattanooga senior (No. 86) and U.S. Amateur champion; Erynne Lee, UCLA sophomore (No. 9) and 2012 college freshman of the year; Lindy Duncan, Duke senior (No. 8) and 2012 college player of the year.
Why it’s important: The Copa de las Americas will be played on U.S. soil for the first time in its five-year history. The 72-hole event at Doral’s Blue Monster course is a biennial team event for amateurs in North, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. The U.S. won this event the last two times it was played, and Canada won twice before that. Those two countries present tough rosters again this year. The Americans boast U.S. Amateur winner Steven Fox and ...
A look at the New Year's Invitational, which is slated to begin on Thursday in Florida.
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New Year’s Invitational
Jan. 3-6, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Country Club
Notables in the field: Dominic Bozelli, Auburn All-American; Lee McCoy, 2012 AJGA first-team All-American; Toni Hakula, member of Texas’ NCAA title team; Jim Liu, No. 2 in Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings; Michael Miller, No. 28 in the R&A World Amateur Ranking; Jack Maguire, 2012 AJGA second-team All-American.
The skinny: As the name would imply, this is the first major amateur event of the year. This year’s field is highlighted by two players – Jim Liu and Michael Miller (read feature here) – who participated in last month’s training session for the U.S. Walker Cup team. While winning this event wouldn’t vault an otherwise unknown player into consideration for the squad, it definitely would strengthen the candidacies of Liu or Miller. Liu was runner-up here last year, losing on the first hole of a three-way playoff; Garland Green outlasted Stephan Jaeger, a first-team All-American at Chattanooga, on the sixth extra hole. Miller finished 22nd here last year. Past winners include Bob Goalby (1968 Masters champion), Buddy Alexander (1986 U.S. Amateur champion), Ryuji Imada ...
The odd-numbered years always provide a little added interest to the amateur golf season because of the race for Walker Cup spots. Throw in a centennial U.S. Amateur celebration and the usual major championships, and it promises to be another interesting year watching top prospects compete on the amateur circuit:
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1. A centennial U.S. Amateur
The U.S. Amateur always highlights the summer schedule but the 2013 edition – scheduled for Aug. 12-18 at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. – promises to be extra special. Most participants will remember this course as the site of the United States’ comeback at the 1999 Ryder Cup. The U.S. Amateur is being held there to commemorate an even more historic event: the 100-year anniversary of Francis Ouimet’s unlikely 1913 U.S. Open victory at The Country Club.
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2. The Walker Cup
This biennial competition returns to the United States after Great Britain & Ireland’s 2011 upset. This year’s Walker Cup will be played Sept. 7-8 at National Golf Links of America, which hosted the first Walker Cup in 1922. The course was designed in 1911 by C.B. Macdonald and is No. 4 on Golfweek’s Best Classic Courses ...
Editor's note: For our entire "My Year in Golf" series, click here.
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Before I came to Golfweek, I had an internship with the U.S. Golf Association. Needless to say, it was definitely one of the coolest experiences of my life.
I got to travel to four of the USGA's championships over the summer: U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Amateur.
The one I was looking forward to the most was the U.S. Amateur. It is the biggest amateur event known to the golfing world, so every amateur player strives to play in this championship, and seeing the top players in the world play at one course was indescribable.
Cherry Hills has an impressive track record with USGA championships. The 1960 U.S. Open when Arnold Palmer drove the first green in the final round and went on to win; the 1990 U.S. Amateur when Phil Mickelson won; and the 1993 Senior Open when Jack Nicklaus won after coming back after a hard defeat at the U.S. Open as an amateur just 33 years before.
The images of the course replay in ...
There were plenty of good stories that came out of amateur golf this past season, exciting, happy endings as well as disappointing, heart-breaking endings.
From Steven Fox winning the U.S. Amateur, to Nathan Smith capturing a record fourth U.S. Mid-Amateur to a 14-year-old from China qualifying for next year’s Masters -- and a whole lot more along the way.
I’ve been covering amateur golf at just about every level for some 30 years and it seems each year provides its own share of interesting stories, whether in victory or defeat.
Compiling a list of the best of them for 2012 was difficult, but here is a list of my top 10:
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10. Tianlang Guan wins Asian Amateur
It isn’t so much at China’s Tianiang Guan won the Asia-Pacific Amateur title at age 14, but more so what the victory will mean to the youngster come next spring.
The win earned the teenager an invitation to compete at the Masters in April at Augusta National Golf Club. When he tees it up in the first round on that Thursday, he will be 14 years, five months and 17 days old to become the youngest participant in ...
Juan Pablo Hernandez of Mexico City, Mexico, won the South Beach International Amateur on Dec. 21, thanks in part to a final-round 3-under 68. Hernandez finished the 54-hole event at Miami Beach (Fla.) Golf Club with a 10-under 273.
Hernandez, a senior at Arizona, finished four shots ahead of Hank Lebioda of Winter Springs, Fla. Lebioda, a Florida State freshman, shot 6-under 277. Lebioda’s Seminole teammate Daniel Berger won the Dixie Amateur on Friday.
Tommy Mou, who won the 2010 New Years Invitational and is a junior at Florida, was third at 4-under 279. Mou held a share of the first-round lead with an opening 5-under 66.
This year marks the second playing of the South Beach International Amateur, an elite South Florida amateur event that overlaps the Dixie Amateur in nearby Coral Springs, Fla. Kelly Kraft won last year’s South Beach Am months after winning the U.S. Amateur.
Daniel Berger of Jupiter, Fla., won the 82nd Dixie Amateur on Dec. 21, by 13 shots. Berger opened a nine-shot lead during the third round, and cruised to victory on Friday with his highest score of the week, a 2-under 70.
Berger, a sophomore at Florida State, separated himself with an opening 9-under 63 at the Woodlands Country Club West course in Coral Springs, Fla., that gave him an immediate three-shot lead. He followed with rounds of 67-65, and ended the week at 22-under 265.
Berger is No. 14 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings.
Tom Lovelady of Birmingham, Ala., was second at 9-under 278. Lovelady, a redshirt freshman at Alabama, made a run at Berger in the third round with his own 9-under 63, but it wasn’t enough to catch Berger.
Richard Werenski, a junior at Georgia Tech, was third, one shot behind Lovelady. Trey Mullinax, a junior at Alabama, was another shot behind Werenski.
Coral Springs local Curtis Thompson was Berger’s closest pursuer after the first round with his 6-under 66. Thompson, an LSU sophomore who won this tournament in 2011, returned rounds of 75-76-72, however, to fall to T-20.
The United States’ practice session for next year’s Walker Cup is under way in Florida, which provides a great opportunity to unveil Golfweek’s first Walker Cup Watch List of the season. This edition consists of the 16 players at the practice session in Naples, Fla. (as well as T.J. Vogel, who is sitting out the session because of injury). The Walker Cup Watch List is a completely unscientific (and unofficial) summary based not only on a player’s skill but also resume. The U.S. Golf Association uses myriad variables for picking the 10-man team to face Europe's top amateurs in the biennial matches, to be played Sept. 7-8 at National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y. Here’s how I think these players stand in the selectors' eyes, based on patterns I’ve observed in team selection over the past several years:
1. Justin Thomas
Hometown: Goshen, Ky.
College: Alabama sophomore
R&A World Amateur Ranking: 2
Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 8
Achievements: 2012 Haskins Award winner (college golf player of the year); won four college titles in 2011-12, including 2012 SEC Championship and NCAA Southeast Regional; won Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate; T-7 ...
Editor's note: For our entire "My Year in Golf" series, click here.
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Tears of joy. Tears of heartbreak. Smiles of elation. Frowns of disappointment.
I’ve seen plenty of them all this past year along the travels on my amateur and college tournament trail. And no matter the case, each left a lasting memory in my year in golf.
Topping the tears of joy list had to be the Smith family - dad Larry, mom Vicki and son Nathan.
The family shared and shed those tears in early September at Conway Farms Golf Club shortly after Nathan, 34, of Pittsburgh, scored a 1-up victory over Canada’s Garrett Rank to secure a record fourth U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.
When the 36-hole final match finally came to an end, Vicki made her way onto the 18th green and embraced her son.
“Nathan never cries, but he did this time,” Vicki said shortly afterwards. “We hugged and he broke down. And, of course, so did I.”
Larry has been Nathan’s caddie in each of his U.S. Mid-Amateur victories (2003, ’09, ’10, and ’12). Sitting in the clubhouse about a half hour after play he was asked what this one meant ...
Asia-Pacific Amateur champ Tianlang Guan missed the cut at the Australia Open, but closed with a respectable 2-under 70 that was a dozen shots better than his opening round.
Guan, who’s exempt into the 2013 Masters, tied for 99th in the Australia Open’s 156-player field. He hit 16 greens Friday after hitting just six in the first round. Guan teed off on No. 10 at The Lakes and made three birdies and no bogeys on his opening nine holes. He bogeyed Nos. 3 and 6, though, before closing with a birdie at the ninth.
Guan, 14, will be the youngest participant in Masters history when he tees up at Augusta National in April.
Guan’s 70 Friday was his first sub-par score in a professional event on a major tour this year. He shot 77-79 at this year’s Volvo China Open. He was 13 years old at the time and the youngest participant in European Tour history. He averaged 77.0 strokes per round in the China and Australia opens.
Guan finished one shot ahead of countryman Andy Zhang, who was 14 when he participated in this year’s U.S. Open at the Olympic Club. Zhang ...
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Chris Maletis is a four-time Trans-Miss Senior Amateur champion who has plenty to say about the U.S. Golf Association, the R&A and their decision to outlaw the anchored stroke.
Maletis, along with his brother, Tom, owns Langdon Farms Golf Club in Aurora, Ore. Langdon Farms, designed by John Fought, is a public course. Despite the ban on anchoring as a putting method – which is expected to discourage many golfers from buying and using belly putters and long putters – Maletis says he will go out of his way to encourage ordinary golfers to continue playing with their belly and long putters.
In protest of the anti-anchoring rule, which was announced Nov. 28 by the USGA and R&A, Maletis says he is prepared to erect a sign at the entrance to Langdon Farms: “Golfers with belly putters and long putters welcome here.”
“Golf needs to attract more players, not drive them away,” he said.
In support of belly and long putters, Maletis talks about golfers having more fun, about players overcoming the yips, about golfers being able to practice longer because they aren’t ...
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Don’t expect to see any of the major amateur tournaments going against the U.S. Golf Association and its ban on the anchored stroke. These events have long played by USGA rules, and officials involved with the tournaments expect that to continue:
• Denny Glass, Northeast Amateur tournament director: “We wouldn’t oppose what the USGA mandates. As far as the Northeast Amateur, if the USGA says no (to anchoring), then we’re going to say no.
“On the other hand, my personal feeling is that it’s mostly about amateurs and their enjoyment of the game, so in that sense I think maybe there should be two sets of rules.”
• Steve Denn, Porter Cup tournament director: “I can see arguments from both sides. Personally, I don’t use a long putter and am not in favor of it. But a lot of amateurs do, and I can see how something like this might deter them from participation in the game.
“As far as Porter Cup, I haven’t sat down with our board to discuss this, but in all likelihood I’d say we ...
WINDERMERE, Fla. – The last time most golf fans saw Michael Weaver, he was attacking his golf bag as he walked off the 37th hole at Cherry Hills Country Club near Denver. Weaver had just let the U.S. Amateur title slip through his fingers last August in a mind-racing turn of events. Don’t let that sudden burst of anger, however, be your lasting impression of Michael Weaver. If it is, you’ve got it all wrong.
“That’s the largest amount of emotion I’ve ever seen from him, by far,” said Steve Desimone, who coaches Weaver at California.
Weaver, 21, a junior from Fresno, is a natural competitor. He spent his youth racing go-carts at speeds that would prompt most parents to cringe. But he’s also a mild-mannered, modest fellow who gives the impression of an old soul and not a hothead. Since age 9, he has been a student of the stock market.
“I didn’t ever think I would be on TV,” Weaver said of the club-slamming incident, which can be found on YouTube. “You learn from it.”
Weaver is hardly the first person to strike his golf bag in anger. In fact, his lifelong ...
Recent Men’s Amateur Golf Videos
Four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Nathan Smith, a member of the 2009 and 2011 Walker cup teams, shows off his swing from multiple angles.
Take a look at the swing of New Year's Invitational winner Brandon Hagy, a redshirt sophomore at Cal.
Asher Wildman runs into Emmy Award-Winning Sportscaster Joe Buck at the U.S. Women's Amateur at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis. Find out who Joe thinks is going to win!