If one were selecting the four majors in amateur golf, it would be hard to not include the Western Amateur.
The annual amateur championship put on by the Western Golf Association will take place Tuesday through Saturday at Sunset Ridge Country Club in Northfield, Ill. The Western Amateur was founded in 1899, making it the third-oldest amateur championship behind the British Amateur and U.S. Amateur.
This year, however, will mark the first time that the event will be livestreamed, as thewesternamateur.com will feature streaming coverage Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern and 4 to 7 p.m. Coverage will continue Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and beginning again at 2 p.m. through the end of the final match.
“This is a significant step forward for us in showcasing our amateur championship and the world’s top amateurs who annually compete for the coveted title,” said John Kaczkowski, WGA President and CEO. “We’ve watched Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and many more compete in the Western Amateur. Now, golf fans everywhere will be able to watch golf’s future stars face off against one another in golf’s most rigorous test.”
The Western Amateur is arguably the most strenuous tournament in amateur golf. The competition begins with two 18-hole stroke-play rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday, and after a cut to the low 44 and ties, continues with 36 holes of stroke play on Thursday. The Round of 16 and quarterfinals take place on Friday with the semifinals and final being held Saturday.
The winner, if each of his matches goes 18 holes, will have played 144 holes in five days.
“It’s the best test in amateur golf,” said Scott Verplank, 1985 Western Amateur champion and a five-time PGA Tour winner. “Generally speaking, the best player actually won. It’s hard to play eight good rounds in a row.”
So who will follow in the footsteps of Verplank, Woods, Jack Nicklaus and last year’s winner Norman Xiong and hoist this year’s trophy?
No. 1-ranked amateur Braden Thornberry headlines the field while No. 3 Collin Morikawa of Cal and No. 6 Chandler Phillips of Texas A&M will also compete. Four quarterfinalists from last year are in the field – Oklahoma’s Brad Dalke, Vanderbilt’s Will Gordon, Florida State’s John Pak and Australia’s Min Woo Lee. Another Australian, Master of the Amateurs winner David Micheluzzi, will tee it up, as will U.S. Open low amateur Luis Gagne, former U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Stewart Hagestad and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Gwk