US Amateur Ready to Kick Off Monday

By Golf Channel NewsroomAugust 14, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 U.S. AmateurThe U.S. Amateur will probably have to go a few years before it has a championship like last year. That one went to a playoff with Australian Nick Flanagan finally defeating Casey Wittenberg on the first extra hole.
This year neither Flanagan nor Wittenberg will be there, both having turned professional during the past year. But the Amateur has plenty of talent to replace them at this years matches, scheduled August 16-22 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. Winged Foot has two 18s, the East Course and the West Course, and both will be put into play during the week.

Flanagan, last years winner, was the second Australian winner in the last 100 years. He built a 4-up lead before Wittenberg rallied to tie the match. Flanagan, a former soccer player, began playing golf on a serious basis just six years prior to his Amateur victory.
Following two days of stroke play Monday, Aug. 16, and Tuesday, Aug. 17, the field of 312 golfers will be reduced to the lowest 64 scorers, who will advance to match play. All matches are 18 holes except the final match. The 36-hole championship final match is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 22.
No past champion who is fully exempt for the U.S. Amateur championship has entered. Each of the winners over the past 10 years who would have been exempt has turned professional. However, several quarterfinalists return, including Patrick Carter of Lesage, W.Va., Lee Williams of Alexander City, Ala., and George Zahringer of New York, N.Y.

Six men who have won past USGA championships are fully exempt for the 2004 U.S. Amateur. They include Ryan Moore, 2002 and 2004 U.S. Amateur Public Links; Kemp Richardson, 2001 and 2003 USGA Senior Amateurs; Danny Green, 1999 U.S. Mid-Amateur; Brian Harman, 2003 U.S. Junior Amateur; Sihwan Kim, 2004 U.S. Junior Amateur; and Zahringer, who won the 2002 U.S. Mid-Amateur.

Two more past USGA champions earned their place in the field through qualifying: Tim Hogarth, the 1996 Amateur Public Links champion, and Greg Reynolds, the 2003 Senior Amateur champion.

Eighteen golfers are exempt from having to qualify, including the five USGA champions listed above and three who qualified for the 2004 U.S. Open - Oscar Alvarez, Spencer Levin and Nathan Smith. Other exempt players are Frank Abbott, 2003 USGA Senior Amateur runner-up; Patrick Carter, 2003 U.S. Amateur quarterfinalist; David Chang, 2004 U.S. Junior Amateur runner-up; Trip Kuehne, 2003 USA Walker Cup team member;
Chris Nallen, 2003 USA Walker Cup team member, Bryan Norton, 2003 U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up; Dayton Rose, 2004 U.S. Amateur Public Links runner-up; Lee Williams, 2003 Amateur quarterfinalist and 2003 USA Walker Cup; and Gary Wolstenholme of England, 2003 GB&I Walker Cup and 2003 British Amateur champion.
The USGA accepted 7,356 entries for this years Amateur. The most entries ever received for an Amateur championship was 7,920 in 1999 when the U.S. Amateur was played at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

The champion receives an exemption into the 2005 U.S. Open and a probable invitation to play in the 2005 Masters Tournament, if he remains an amateur. He also receives a 10-year exemption into the U.S. Amateur field so long as he remains an amateur.

ESPN2 will cover 10 hours of the championship, two hours each day the last five days, culminating in the winners match Sunday from 3-5 p.m. ET. The first and second rounds of stroke play with be held on the East and West courses, while the remainder of the matches will be held on the West. The East plays to 6,775 yards, the West at 7,266. Both have pars of 70.

Both courses were originally designed by A.W. Tillinghast and opened in 1923. The West Course has undergone a series of restorations by several golf course architects since it opened. Winged Foot has hosted nine USGA championships.
The U.S. Amateur Championship is open to amateur golfers who have USGA Handicap Indexes not exceeding 2.4. The Handicap limit was lowered from 3.4 in 1999.

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    Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x