LA QUINTA, Calif. – Q-School doesn’t care about your amateur resume. It’s all about numbers, not name recognition. Brian Harman learned that lesson the hard way.
Harman was the 2003 U.S. Junior champ and represented the United States at the 2005 and 2009 Walker Cups. He failed to advance out of Q-School’s first stage in his first two attempts. Last year, he double-bogeyed his 70th hole to miss by a shot.
“That hurt pretty bad,” he said. “It made me work a lot harder. I’ve been working my butt off, man, just trying to get better and better.”
Harman made it to Q-School finals this year, and is in good position halfway through the week. He’s tied for ninth at 9-under 207. A final-nine 29 Friday shot him up the leaderboard.
Harman added to his list of bad Q-School memories on his ninth hole Friday, hitting his approach into the water. He dropped his club in frustration, then watched it sink between two rocks lining the 18th fairway at PGA West’s TPC Stadium Course (Harman teed off on No. 10).
“I have no business letting go of a golf club out there,” Harman said ...
When the U.S. Amateur Championship moved its playing dates up one week beginning in 2012, some wondered whether this might have a domino effect on other tournaments normally played around that time.
The answer is, yes – at least in one case.
The Scratch Players Championship, usually held about a week earlier and at a site near the U.S. Amateur, is, well, scratched.
Considered by many as one of the world’s leading amateur tournaments, the SPC will no longer be staged.
“With the U.S. Amateur henceforth moving up one week permanently, this squeezed the SPC out,” said Fred Solomon, founder and head of the Scratch Players Group, which started, runs and operates the Scratch Players Championship. “If held, it would conflict with the Canadian Am, Cardinal Am and European Am annually.
“It would also follow the Porter Cup, then the Western Am, then the SPC right before the U.S. Am,” Solomon said. “I just don’t believe a top amateur is going to play four weeks straight, and the first event to skip among those four would be the SPC. I’m simply not interested in investing the enormous time to run a world-class event and ...
Most people, myself certainly included, don’t remember the Southern States Four-Ball Championship. Simply put, it was before our time.
Still, there was a time when it was one of the country’s premier amateur competitions.
And, it has some pretty impressive names in the world of golf to prove it. Charlie Yates, Harvie Ward, Fred Haas Jr. and Gardner Dickinson Jr., were among the winners and contenders when the event was played from 1939 through 1948 (with a break for World War II).
The heavy involvement from the great Bobby Jones hardly did anything but make it a “must play” for the country’s top amateurs at the time.
Jones typically presented the winning trophy when the tournament took place six times at his home club of East Lake in Atlanta. It was also played once each at Birmingham (Ala.) Country Club and General Oglethorpe Golf Club in Savannah, Ga.
The unique trophy was a large plaque dedicated to Jones, with small replicas of the four trophies he won in his “grand slam” series in 1930.
Now, after more than a half century of dormancy, the Southern Golf Association is reviving the Southern States Four-Ball Championship. The ninth edition ...
At a news conference shortly after Great Britain & Ireland scored a 14-12 victory over the U.S. at this year’s Walker Cup match at Royal Aberdeen (Scotland) Golf Club, American captain Jim Holtgrieve was asked to look to the future.
The question presented: Now that he’s gone through his first Walker Cup, and presuming he again would be the captain at the 2013 matches, what has he learned and what might he do differently the next time around?
“I can’t really comment on that until I get the official captaincy,” he said at the time, referring to a decision would be up to the U.S. Golf Association. “It’s been the history the last few years that both captains have got it here as well as over there (U.S.). I just hope I’ll get the opportunity again, and then I’ll start judging from there.”
Holtgrieve will, in fact, have that opportunity. The USGA again named him captain of the American side, and again he will face off with GB&I captain Nigel Edwards when the 44th Walker Cup is staged Sept. 7-8 at National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y.
Hideki Matsuyama, the two-time Asian Amateur champion who impressed at this year’s Masters, won the Japan Tour’s Taiheiyo Masters on Sunday, becoming the third amateur to win on the Japan Tour.
Matsuyama, 19, eagled the par-5 18th to win by two shots over Toru Taniguchi, the 72nd-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking. Matsuyama finished at 13-under 203 (71-64-68).
“I didn’t expect to win this tournament,” Matsuyama told The Japan Times. “At the 18th hole, (final-group playing competitor Toru) Taniguchi-san set up an eagle chance, so I just tried to follow him with a shot of my own.”
Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and Sang-Moon Bae, No. 27 in the OWGR, were among the players tied for third at 10-under par. Ryo Ishikawa, who’ll join Schwartzel at this week’s Presidents Cup in Australia, finished eighth. Another member of the International Presidents Cup team, Kyung-Tae Kim, finished 15th.
Matsuyama birdied Nos. 14 and 15 before eagling the final hole at Taiheiyo Club’s Gotemba Course. The victory moved him to No. 196 in the Official World Golf Ranking. He entered the event ranked sixth in the R&A’s World Amateur Golf Ranking. The World Amateur ...
Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama highlights the field for the third annual Asian Amateur Championship, which begins Thursday at Singapore Island Country Club.
Augusta National, the R&A and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation formed the Asian Amateur two years ago as a way to develop competitive golf in the region. The Asian Amateur champion earns a Masters invitation, while the top two finishers are exempt into International Final Qualifying for next year’s Open Championship.
Matsuyama went on to finish 27th and earn low-amateur honors at this year’s Masters, a performance that validated this young event. He’s risen to fifth in the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking since last year’s five-shot victory over Australia’s Tarquin MacManus at Japan’s Kasumigaseki Country Club.
Though Matsuyama has established himself as a one of the world’s top amateurs, the depth of the Asian Amateur field is still questionable. There are only five top-50 players in the field. New Zealand Stroke Play champion Ryan Fox, at No. 21 in the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking, is the second-highest-ranked player in the field, followed by Australia’s Jake Higginbottom (39), New Zealand’s Ben Campbell (44) and Australian ...
MANAKIN-SABOT, Va. – Vinny Giles, playing his home course and looking uncomfortable in the role of sentimental favorite, lost in the second round of match play Tuesday in the USGA Senior Amateur.
On this day, his golf would not come close to speaking as loudly as his words.
One minute, Giles was suffering with a long putter at Kinloch Golf Club, three-putting from 25 feet on the 20th hole to hand the victory to Ron Kilby of McAllen, Texas.
The next, he was blasting all long and belly putters, labeling the U.S. Golf Association “gutless” and calling for a ban on all putters attached to the body.
“It’s been a good eight years that I’ve used a long putter,” Giles said. “I could go back (to a conventional short putter), and I wish the USGA had the guts to outlaw them (long and belly putters).
“We should not be able to putt with those things. We shouldn’t be able to putt with anything attached to our bodies.
“Why they’re so gutless, I don’t know. I want them to just say, ‘OK, we make the rules.’ If the PGA Tour wants to say, ‘We’re not ...
MANAKIN-SABOT, Va. – Overhead in the gallery at the U.S. Senior Amateur: “I can’t believe it. lsn’t that Fred Ridley out there?”
True, Ridley competed in the Senior Amateur, missing the 36-hole cut in the medal-play portion of the championship.
With scores of 72 and 83 at Kinloch Golf Club, the former U.S. Golf Association president from Tampa, Fla., posted a 155 total that left him out of the low 64 qualifiers for match play.
Amateurs 55 and older are eligible for the Senior Amateur. Match play begins Monday and ends Thursday, with Paul Simson of Raleigh, N.C., attempting to defend the title he won last year.
Despite Ridley's not having qualified, he remains something of a poster boy for the USGA because he is a past president and a past U.S. Amateur champion.
If the USGA required its administrators and officers to pass a playing-ability test - the dreaded PAT for the aspiring club professionals - we might not have a USGA.
Thank goodness the game of golf in the United States is ruled by golfers who love the game far more convincingly than they might be able to play it.
Ridley, though, is an ...
9.00 a.m. – Tom Lewis & Michael Stewart vs. Peter Uihlein & Harris English
This will be the marquis match between the hometown favorite and one of America’s best. With the crowd rooting for Lewis and Stewart, look for USA to silence them early with a morning victory from Uihlein and English.
9:10 a.m. – Jack Senior & Andy Sullivan vs. Russell Henley and Kelly Kraft
Jack Senior was a Walker Cup killer at the U.S. Amateur. That trend may continue with the help of Andy Sullivan to give GB&I its first point of the day.
9:20 a.m. – Paul Cutler & Alan Dunbar vs. Nathan Smith & Blayne Barber
Smith and Barber are nice guys, but do they have that killer instinct? At the Walker Cup you have to be mentally tough. For some reason, I’m thinking nice guys finish last in this one. Cutler and Dunbar score the point.
9:30 a.m. – Steven Brown & Stiggy Hodgson vs. Patrick Cantlay & Chris Williams
Cantlay and Williams are two of the top amateurs in the world being paired with one another. They both are quiet on and off the course. This pairing seems like the lock of ...
The first tee of any international competition is nerve-wracking. There's large crowds and the emotions associated with wearing one's flag. Throw in the youth of most Walker Cup participants and it makes for a downright volatile mixture brewing in players' stomachs. For proof, consider this story from Rory McIlroy, who faced Dustin Johnson in the first foursomes match at the 2007 Walker Cup. A juiced-up Johnson hit the opening tee shot before the announcer finished calling his name.
Said McIlroy, “He must have had a bit of adrenaline as well because he hit it about 400 yards. I stepped up and I didn't realize how far he had hit it, and I hit mine and I hit it really good. I was playing in front of a home crowd and I was feeling it. I was pumped up. I hit mine maybe 320, and I get up there and was 60 yards behind him. I was like, hmm, this could be a long day."
The United States is heavily favored at the Walker Cup, and for good reason. The American team features the world’s top-ranked amateur, Patrick Cantlay, and six of the top 10, plus two winners of Nationwide Tour events, Russell Henley and Harris English. The race for the final spots on the 10 man roster was tight because so many Americans were playing well in the weeks leading up to the Walker Cup.
Great Britain & Ireland’s advantage comes in the competition’s site, Royal Aberdeen. Most of the United States’ players are unfamiliar with links golf. The GB&I squad also will have the support of large, partisan galleries. The Walker Cup is a big deal in the British Isles. The home team will have to make the most of those advantages to win this weekend against a U.S. squad listed as a 4-9 favorite by British oddsmakers.
“I think (the U.S.) has to be favorites, given their achievements that they’ve had,” said Great Britain & Ireland’s Jack Senior, a semifinalist at the U.S. Amateur. “But our guys are on form; they’re playing well. Pretty much everyone had a good summer and played well the ...
ABERDEEN, Scotland – Steven Brown wasn’t on anyone’s Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team last year. In fact, he wasn’t even named to the original 23-man squad last November. Yet Brown has a chance to become the hero of the 43rd Walker Cup.
At age 24, Brown is the oldest player on the GB&I team. Unlike his younger teammates, he hasn’t had much of the limelight over the years. Most of the team members have made names for themselves from exploits in junior golf. Not Brown. He’s a late developer.
Four years ago, Brown wasn’t even playing full-time amateur golf. He was doing what many 20-year-olds do after finishing high school.
“I went traveling around the world with some friends, and it was awesome,” Brown said. “Golf was the furthest thing from my mind. So I didn’t really start playing again until I was about 20. I didn’t really have the bug for a while, but I got it after my travels.”
A member of Wentworth, home of the European Tour, Brown took his place on Nigel Edwards’ GB&I team thanks to winning the English Amateur Championship, and runner-up finishes in ...
Just as well that the Walker Cup is not played on paper. Otherwise, the Great Britain & Ireland team might just not turn up for the match that begins Saturday at Royal Aberdeen.
On paper, it appears to be no contest.
The United States is bringing some heavy guns to try to win George Herbert Walker’s cup. U.S. captain Jim Holtgrieve has the world’s top four players on his side. He has five of the world’s top 10, eight of the world’s top 24 and nine players in the top 55. He only has one player outside the world top 100.
GB&I captain Nigel Edwards, meanwhile, counts only two players in the top 10, four in the top 20 and six in the top 36. Nine of his players are inside the world top 80, and he has one player outside the world top 200.
World No. 1 Patrick Cantlay leads the U.S. team as one of the world’s top four players, along with Jordan Spieth, Patrick Rodgers and Peter Uihlein, the world’s Nos. 2, 3 and 4 players, respectively.
Harris English rolls in at No. 6. He is one of two ...
ERIN, Wis. – Jordan Russell won’t be playing Sunday in the title match at this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship at Erin Hills Golf Club after he was defeated Saturday morning by the world No. 1 amateur Patrick Cantlay, 4 and 3, in the semifinals.
Still, Russell will be taking a lot of positives from the week back with him to Texas as he begins his senior season at Texas A&M.
“Overall this has been a great week. I had some close matches and know I can come back after being down,” said Russell, who, in the quarterfinals defeated defending champion and 2011 Ben Hogan Award winner Peter Uihlein, 2 and 1.
“I’ll leave here with nothing but confidence. I think this (week) will help a lot and falls right in line with my last year and a half in college,” Russell said. “This is another stepping stone for me.”
There have certainly been plenty of stepping stones for Russell over the last four years. That’s usually the case when you start your journey from the bottom.
Russell was born and raised in College Station, Texas, and his father David is a chemistry instructor at Texas ...
ERIN, Wis. – The last time Jack Senior visited the United States was when he went to Disney World as a boy, yet as he looked around this week at Erin Hills, everything felt so familiar. The wind whistling through the golden fescue. The burned-out, rolling fairways. The ragged-edged bunkering. The temperature, well, that was a bit different. But you get the idea: The Englishman’s first experience playing in the U.S. was a rousing success, even with a loss Saturday in the semifinals of the 111th U.S. Amateur.
“The lesson I learned,” Senior said, “was that I should be out here playing more often. This style of game suits me. This is where I feel most comfortable.”
Senior, 23, a member of the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team, said he originally decided to play the U.S. Amateur only because, at No. 20, he was exempt through the World Amateur Ranking and needed match-play experience before the Walker Cup in two weeks. At home, he plays at local Heysham Golf Club in northwest England, about 40 minutes from Royal Lytham. Imagine his delight, then, when he won the Lytham Trophy in May.
“But everyone always said to ...
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