Reflections on the Amateur

By Mike RitzAugust 26, 2001, 4:00 pm
If ever a place and an event were made for one another, this was it. East Lake and the U.S. Amateur. East Lake Golf Club was Bobby Joness club. The Amateur was Joness championship.

Jones won the Amateur Championship five times. The final time ' in 1930 ' gave him a sweep of all four major championships that year.
 
As the 312 players who started this week in the 101st U.S. Amateur Championship walked through East Lakes historic clubhouse, 312 jaws dropped.
 
The centerpiece in the lobby was the Havemeyer Trophy, the glamorous prize awarded to the Amateur champion. On display on the front wall are all four trophies from Joness 1930 Grand Slam. The staircase is lined with newspaper clippings of the golfing greats many accomplishments. One walks through this place and realizes it is golfs hallowed ground.

My God! This is where he played. This was his championship. To win this U.S. Amateur championship would surely be something special.
 
The 312 were whittled down to 64 for match play. The youngest player to make it that far was 17-year-old Daniel Summerhays of Farmington, Utah. Bobby Jones would have been proud of Summerhays, whose uncle, Bruce, stars on the Senior P.G.A. Tour. After young Daniel surprised everyone, especially himself, by winning his first three matches and advancing to the quarterfinals, he said, I really didnt expect to do much when I got here.
 
The high school senior had a wonderful perspective. I figured if I played real well I might make it into match play and maybe win one. Im just enjoying being here Im soaking it all in, he said.
 
Daniel never stopped smiling, even after he lost in the quarters to Robert Hamilton. As Jones, himself, might have said, Summerhays gushed I just love the game of golf.

The stamp of Bobby Jones is, thankfully, all over this championship. The two players good enough and lucky enough to make it to the final earn invitations to the Masters ' the championship created by Jones.

Next year the aforementioned Hamilton and Ben Bubba Dickerson will get to play Augusta National in April. After winning their semi-final matches they both said, Its a dream come true.

Dickerson had just missed an invitation to the Masters last year when he lost in extra holes in the final of the U.S. Public Links Championship. Hamilton had never come close. In fact, the former University of California golfer had tried and failed to qualify for the Amateur six previous times.
 
In Sundays 36-hole final, it was the more experienced Dickerson who looked nervous early. Bubba double-bogeyed the second hole and bogeyed the fourth. Meantime, a steady Hamilton birdied holes three and five to win four holes in a row and go four-up through the first five. All week long Robert had said hed been eerily focused. The key to his success was the ability to stay in the moment. Hamilton was enjoying this moment.

Dickerson had matched or bettered par in four of his five previous matches. His worst medal score was one over par. But in the final Bubba was five-over through 14 and five-down. Dickerson had rallied from two-down with four to play in the semi-finals and he came from behind again. Bubba birdied two of the final four in the morning 18 while Hamilton bogeyed two of four. Dickerson captured four holes in a row. When they broke for lunch, Hamiltons lead had dwindled to just one hole.

The second 18 was a nail-biter. No one led by more than one hole. It was all square when the two reached the 36th. The match ended when Dickerson hit a brilliant tee shot to 12 feet on the 235-yard par-3 and Hamiltons shot buried under the lip of a bunker. Dickerson had the luxury of three putts to win the championship. He calmly rolled in his birdie for a one-up victory.

What a summer its been for Dickerson. He helped his Florida Gators win the N.C.A.A. championship. He won the prestigious Western Amateur and now becomes the first player since Tiger Woods to win the Western and the U.S. Amateur the same year.
 
When asked what went through his mind when he faced a five-hole deficit today, Dickerson said he remembered how Tiger had rallied from six-hole deficits to win two of his Amateur titles.

Now Dickerson can look forward to next April when he will be paired with Woods for the first two rounds of the Masters. The Amateur champion and the defending Masters champion. A Tiger and a Bubba at Bobbys place.
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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.