U.S. Amateur Championship: Major USGA Golf Tournament

History, fun facts and trivia about the USGA amateur tournament

Bryson DeChambeau holds the Theodore A. Havemeyer trophy after beating Derek Bard 7-6 during the final match of the 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship
Bryson DeChambeau with the trophy after winning the 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship.

Jeff Haynes/Getty Images

 

The U.S. Amateur Championship, conducted by the USGA, is a golf tournament open to amateur golfers who have a USGA Handicap Index of 2.4 or lower. A series of stroke-play qualifiers is played around the United States in the months leading up to the tournament, giving any amateur golfer who meets the criteria a chance to qualify.

The U.S. Amateur Championship was first played in 1895. A handful of U.S. Ams have been played fully at stroke play, but nearly all have culminated in match play.

The tournament is the top event in the world of golf for male amateur golfers.

Winners receive the Havemeyer Trophy and a commemorative gold medal. The winner also receives exemptions to play in the next Masters Tournament, U.S. Open and British Open (so long as they remain amateurs). The runner-up also gets into the Masters and U.S. Open fields.

2019 U.S. Amateur Championship

Dates for this tournament in 2019 are Aug. 12-18. The location is Pinehurst Resort in Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina. The No. 2 course will be the site of match play matches, with the No. 4 course also being used during the stroke-play qualifying rounds. This will be the third time Pinehurst has been the site of a U.S. Am. In 1962, Labron Harris was the champion at Pinehurst; and in 2008, Danny Lee was the victor.

2018 U.S. Amateur Championship

Viktor Hovland became the first-ever golfer from Norway to win this championship with his 6-and-5 victory over Devon Bling.

Hovland reached the finals by defeating Cole Hammer 3 and 2 in the semifinals. Bling's semifinal victory was over Isaiah Salinda, 1-up. Hovland won the first hole of the match, then Bling, from California, won the second. They matched scores on the third hole, then Hovland won the fourth. And Hovland never gave up that lead.

Tournament Format

A field of 312 golfers begins the tournament with two rounds of stroke play. That field is cut to the low 64 (a sudden-death playoff is used to break any tie for 64th place), who advance into four days of single-elimination match play. Matches are 18 holes until only two golfers remain. The two finalists play a 36-hole championship match.

Winners of the U.S. Amateur Championship

The full list of U.S. Amateur Championship winners includes the champion, runner-up and the final scores of all the championship matches. These are the 20 most-recent winners:

YearWinnerLocation
2018Viktor HovlandPebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links
2017Doc RedmanRiviera CC, Pacific Palisades, Calif.
2016Curtis LuckOakland Hills, Bloomfield Township, Mich.
2015Bryson DeChambeauOlympia Fields (Ill.) CC
2014Gunn YangAtlanta (Ga.) Athletic Club
2013Matt FitzpatrickThe Country Club, Brookline, Mass.
2012Steven FoxCherry Hills CC, Colo.
2011Kelly KraftErin Hills (Wisc.)
2010Peter UihleinChambers Bay, University Place, Wash.
2009Byeong-Hun AnSouthern Hills CC, Tulsa, Okla.
2008Danny LeePinehurst (N.C.), No. 2 Course
2007Colt KnostOlympic Club, San Francisco, Calif.
2006Richie RamsayHazeltine National, Chaska, Minn.
2005Edoardo MolinariMerion (Pa.) Golf Club
2004Ryan MooreWinged Foot, Mamaroneck, N.Y.
2003Nick FlanaganOakmont (Pa.) CC
2002Ricky BarnesOakland Hills, Bloomfield Township, Mich.
2001Bubba DickersonEast Lake GC, Atlanta, Ga.
2000Jeff QuinneyBaltusrol GC, Springfield, N.J.
1999David GossettPebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links

View all the tournament champions.

U.S. Amateur Championship Records

The record for most wins by one golfer is five, held by Bobby Jones. The legendary Jones won the tournament in 1924, 1925, 1927, 1928 and 1930. Only one other golfer has as many as four U.S. Am wins—Jerome Travers claimed the trophy in 1907, 1908, 1912 and 1913.

The record for consecutive wins is three, set by Tiger Woods when he won the 1994, 1995 and 1996 tournaments at ages 18, 19 and 20, respectively. While multiple golfers have won back-to-back U.S. Amateurs, no one has done it since Woods' final win in 1996.

The youngest winner is Danny Lee, who was 18 years, 1 month old at the time of his 2008 victory. And the oldest champion is Jack Westland, who won in 1952 at age 47 years, 3 months, 9 days.

The largest winning margin in a 36-hole championship match is 12-and-11, which is the score by which Charles B.

Macdonald defeated Charles Sands in 1895, the first year in the tournament's history.

U.S. Amateur Championships Trivia and Notes

  • The USGA was founded in 1894, and in 1895 the U.S. Amateur Championship debuted.
  • Charles B. Macdonald won the first U.S. Am. Yes, he's the Charles B. Macdonald—the renowned golf course architect who designed such courses as Chicago Golf Club, National Golf Links of America and the Yale University course.
  • The first U.S. Amateur and first U.S. Open were played simultaneously, but the Open started one day later than the Amateur. That makes the Amateur the oldest golf tournament in America still played today.
  • The U.S. Amateur has usually included stroke-play qualifying rounds, and has almost always concluded with match play. However, from 1965-72, the Amateur was played entirely at stroke play.
  • The trophy of the U.S. Am is known as the Havemeyer Cup, and the winner receives possession of it for one year.
  • Bobby Jones is the only 5-time winner of this event. He reached the final 7 times (the record), losing in 1919 and 1926.
  • Tiger Woods is the only golfer to win this tournament three times in a row. Woods also once held the record as the youngest champion, and still holds the record for most consecutive matches won (18, over three championships).
  • Chick Evans (1916) and Bobby Jones (1930) are the only golfers to win the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open in the same years. Nine other golfers won both tournaments during the course of their careers. But two of those—Francis Ouimet and Johnny Goodman—won the Open before they won the Amateur.
  • Two-time winner and five-time finalist Chick Evans played in the U.S. Amateur a record 50 times. William C. Campbell, a onetime USGA president, played every year from 1941-77 (excluding 1942-45, when the championship wasn't played), a record 33 consecutive years.

Future Sites of the U.S. Amateur Championship

  • 2019: Aug. 12-18 at the Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2) in Village of Pinehurst, N.C.
  • 2020: Aug. 10-16 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Ore.