Grand Reserve Golf Club chosen to host U.S. Women’s Amateur event

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. – The USGA has announced the Grand Reserve Golf Club, in Puerto Rico, as the host site of the 7th U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship.
The championship is scheduled for April 30–May 4, 2022. It will mark the first time a USGA championship is held outside of the U.S. mainland in a U.S. territory.
"We have a wonderful, longstanding relationship with the Puerto Rico Golf Association, and bringing a USGA championship to the island further demonstrates our commitment to working together even more closely moving forward,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director, Championships. “The Grand Reserve has an impressive pedigree, and we very much look forward to bringing the Women’s Four-Ball there.”
The Grand Reserve Golf Club, which is located within the Grand Reserve master plan, is best known for annually hosting the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open. The Puerto Rico Golf Association (PRGA), which recently joined the USGA’s network of Allied Golf Associations, will host the championship.
"It’s an honor to have the opportunity to host a USGA championship, and we are so glad the USGA sees the same value in this partnership that we do,” said Sidney Wolf, president of the PRGA. “This will be a perfect opportunity to help grow women’s golf here by hosting this championship. We love golf and we love to showcase our magnificent island. The PRGA couldn’t be more excited for this to come to fruition.”
The 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball will be the first USGA championship held in Puerto Rico. It is open to two-player sides (or teams) of female amateurs with individual Handicap Indexes not exceeding 14.4. There are no age restrictions, and partners are not required to be from the same club, state or country. Entries for the 2022 championship will open in May 2021.
The championship begins with 18-hole qualifying, which commences the previous August and is conducted by Allied Golf Associations on behalf of the USGA. A total of 64 sides advance to the championship through qualifying or exemptions. Each player plays their own ball throughout the round, and the side’s score is the lower score of the partners for each hole. After 36 holes of stroke play, the field is reduced to the low 32 sides for match play, from which the champions are determined.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball was canceled last year. In 2019, Megan Furtney and Erica Shepherd claimed the fifth title at Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla. The 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball will be held at Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas, April 24-28. Starting with this year’s championship, winners of the U.S. Women’s Four-Ball will earn exemptions into the following U.S. Women’s Amateur.

SOURCE: USGA


USGA sets 2021 U.S. Team for 48th Walker Cup Match

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. (March 1, 2021) – The USGA’s International Team Selection working group today announced the 10 players who will make up the 2021 United States Walker Cup Team.
The USA Team will meet Great Britain and Ireland in the 48th Match at Seminole Golf Club, in Juno Beach, Fla., Saturday and Sunday, May 8-9. It will be the first time the competition has been held in the spring on U.S. soil.
The 10-player team, which will be captained by Nathaniel Crosby, of Jupiter, Fla., includes Tyler Strafaci, 22, of Davie, Fla., who earned his place by winning the 2020 U.S. Amateur Championship. Three players earned places as the top three Americans in the World Amateur Golf Ranking® / WAGR® as of Feb. 10. They are: Ricky Castillo, 20, of Yorba Linda, Calif. (fourth in the WAGR); John Pak, 22, of Scotch Plains, N.J. (seventh in the WAGR); and Davis Thompson, 21, of St. Simons Island, Ga. (second in the WAGR).
The remaining players chosen by the working group are: Pierceson Coody, 21, of Plano, Texas; Quade Cummins, 24, of Weatherford, Okla.; Austin Eckroat, 22, of Edmond, Okla.; Stewart Hagestad, 29, of Newport Beach, Calif.; Cole Hammer, 21, of Houston, Texas; and William Mouw, 20, of Chino, Calif. Hagestad, Hammer and Pak are returning players from the 2019 USA Team, which defeated GB&I, 15½-10½, at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, in Hoylake, England.
“This United States Team is a talented group of players who will work together, under Nathaniel Crosby’s leadership, to be competitive against Great Britain and Ireland in this friendly match among some of the world’s leading amateur golfers,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director, Championships. “The USA Team shares George Herbert Walker’s vision for an international event that embodies the spirit of camaraderie and promotes interest in the game.”
The Walker Cup Match is a biennial amateur team competition between the USA and a team composed of players from Great Britain and Ireland, selected by The R&A. The Match is played over two days with 18 singles matches and eight foursomes (alternate-shot) matches. The USA leads the overall series that began in 1922, 37-9-1, but it has been extremely competitive over the last three decades, with the USA holding just a 9-7 advantage in the Match since 1989.
“It is once again a great privilege to serve as the USA captain and to work with a group who represent the best of amateur golf,” said Crosby, who in addition to guiding the 2019 victory also played on the winning USA Team in the 1983 Match. “The 10 team members have a notable list of accomplishments on the collegiate, national and international levels. They will represent the United States in the spirit and tradition of the Walker Cup Match.”
The first USA Walker Cup Team posted an 8-4 victory in 1922 at the National Golf Links of America, in Southampton, N.Y., and is considered among the best teams ever assembled, with Francis Ouimet, Bob Jones, Charles “Chick” Evans and Jess Sweetser. Many of the game’s greatest players have competed in the Walker Cup, including U.S. Open champions Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau for the USA and Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose for Great Britain and Ireland.
“The selection of the USA Walker Cup Team is a diligent process that highlights the USGA’s role and mission in amateur golf,” said Martha Lang, chairperson, International Team Selection working group and a past Curtis Cup Match competitor and captain. “In a similar way, Seminole Golf Club, Donald Ross’ architectural masterpiece, has been a longstanding friend to amateur golf and will be an impressive venue for this international competition.”
McClure Meissner, 22, of San Antonio, Texas; and Garett Reband, 21, of York, S.C., are the first and second alternatives, respectively.
Due to health and safety guidelines, attendance at the Match will be limited. Information on the availability of public tickets will be posted in the spring on walkercup.org.

SOURCE: USGA

Final qualifying sites set for U.S. Open

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. – The United States Golf Association announced the 11 final qualifying sites for the 121st U.S. Open Championship to be played at Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course), in San Diego, Calif., on June 17-20, 2021.
Additionally, online player registration for the 2021 U.S. Open will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 24 (champs.usga.org/index.html) and will continue through Wednesday, April 21.
Final qualifying, conducted over 36 holes, will be held at nine U.S. sites. One is set for Monday, May 24, in Texas, while eight are scheduled on Monday, June 7: two in Ohio and one each in California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New York and Washington. For the 16th consecutive year in which international qualifying has been contested, Japan will host a qualifier, on May 24. A final qualifier will be contested for the second time in Canada, on June 7.
All U.S. Open qualifying was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and for the same reason England will not host a site this year. An exemption category will be added in which players can earn entry based on the three-event U.S. Open 2021 European Tour Qualifying Series (Betfred British Masters, Made in HimmerLand presented by FREJA and Porsche European Open, May 15-June 6). The top 10 aggregate point earners from those events, who were otherwise not exempt, will earn spots in the U.S. Open field.
“The U.S. Open is a uniquely democratic championship that offers thousands of golfers of all backgrounds a chance to qualify through a traditional two-stage process that was established in 1959,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director, Championships. “Allied Golf Associations in the United States, along with the Japan Golf Association, Golf Canada and the European Tour, collaborate to provide players with a qualifying path to the U.S. Open that celebrates and reinforces the theme ‘From Many, One.’”
To be eligible for qualifying, a player must have a Handicap Index® not exceeding 1.4, or be a professional. Local qualifying, which will be played over 18 holes at 108 sites in the U.S. and one in Canada, takes place between April 26-May 18.
In 2019, the USGA accepted 9,125 entries for the championship at Pebble Beach, the eighth consecutive year that entries topped 9,000. The record of 10,127 was established for the 2014 championship at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2, in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C.
The 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines was both historic and dramatic. Tiger Woods outdueled Rocco Mediate, who advanced to the championship through the Columbus, Ohio, final qualifier, in a 19-hole Monday playoff to win his third U.S. Open title and record-tying ninth USGA championship. It was Woods’ 14th professional major championship victory.

2021 U.S. Open Final Qualifying Sites (11)
International (2)
Monday, May 24
Asia – The Royal Golf Club, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan.
Monday, June 7
Canada – RattleSnake Point Golf Club (CopperHead Course), Milton, Ontario.
United States (9)
Monday, May 24
Dallas Athletic Club (Blue and Gold Courses), Dallas, Texas.
Monday, June 7
Rolling Hills Country Club, Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.; The Bear’s Club, Jupiter, Fla.; Piedmont Driving Club, Atlanta, Ga.; Woodmont Country Club (North Course), Rockville, Md.; Century Country Club & Old Oaks Country Club, Purchase, N.Y.; Brookside Golf & Country Club & The Lakes Golf & Country Club, Columbus, Ohio; Springfield (Ohio) Country Club; Meadow Springs Country Club, Richland, Wash.

SOURCE: USGA


USGA launches ‘Deacon’ to help courses deliver better golfer experience

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. – The United States Golf Association has reached a key milestone in its efforts to support the long-term health of golf courses with the launch of “Deacon,” an innovative golf course management tool created to help operators improve the golfer experience by delivering better playing conditions while optimizing and prioritizing critical resource consumption.
Developed by the USGA’s Green Section and backed by its 100 years of hands-on industry experience, Deacon was designed to address two universal problems faced by golf courses: a gradual decline in participation due to a lack of satisfaction and rising maintenance costs. The digital tool is accessible online and available in both iOS and Android app stores.
The name is a tribute to Deacon Palmer, whose 50-year stewardship of Latrobe (Pa.) Country Club starting in 1926 – as superintendent and later golf professional – shaped a course that generations of golfers have enjoyed to this day. Latrobe is where Deacon taught his son, Arnold, to play the game on his way to becoming one of the most beloved figures in sports history, inspiring millions with his passion, character and values.
“In caring for Latrobe Country Club and influencing the life of one of the iconic figures in golf history, Deacon Palmer served the game in a way that matches our mission,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA. “We are humbled that the Palmer family has entrusted the USGA with honoring his legacy.”
The tool contains 10 key features that will enhance a golf course manager’s ability to deliver accessible, enjoyable rounds to its golfers, including pace of play reports, GPS heat mapping, golf course condition management and hole locations. According to USGA research, golfer experience plays a vital role in the financial viability of facilities and the game’s long-term health and sustainability.
Complementing and expanding upon the USGA’s proven impact in turfgrass research, educational reach and on-site consultations, the tool will serve as an important supplement to the work done daily by golf course operators and empower them to make more efficient, data-driven decisions.
“Deacon represents the latest evolution in the USGA’s efforts to champion and advance the game,” said Davis. “The investment in this innovative technology will have a positive and long-lasting impact on the millions of golfers who visit green-grass facilities each year as well as thousands of golf course operators, the unsung backbone of our game.”
The USGA and the Palmer family share a long association dating to Arnold Palmer’s amateur career. Palmer cited his victory in the 1954 U.S. Amateur Championship as the turning point in his decision to become a professional golfer. The first player to win the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open (1960) and U.S. Senior Open (1981), Palmer was honored in 1971 with the Bob Jones Award, the organization’s highest honor, and in 1975, he was named the honorary chairman of the USGA Members Program – a position he held until his passing in 2016. His relationship with the USGA and his role in American golf history were further cemented in 2008 with the opening of the Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History at the USGA Golf Museum and Library in Liberty Corner, N.J.
“My father wanted to be remembered as a caretaker of golf because it was my grandfather, Deacon, who first taught him how to care for the game,” said Amy Palmer Saunders, chair of the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation. “Our family is proud to continue this longstanding association with the USGA through the Deacon tool because it supports the same common-sense people – superintendents and professionals – my father and grandfather identified with so closely in their own lives.”
More information about Deacon can be found at gsshop.usga.org.
Since its inception in 1920, the USGA Green Section has developed and disseminated sustainable management practices that produce better playing conditions for everyday golfers through research, education and consulting visits.

SOURCE: USGA

USGA, R&A modernize amateur status rules

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J., and ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – The USGA and The R&A have announced proposals for significant changes to the Rules of Amateur Status that govern the game worldwide.
These proposals result from a modernization initiative that has identified a clear need to bring the Rules up to date to reflect today’s global amateur game and ensure that the Rules are easier to understand and apply.
The proposed Rules, along with explanations to key changes, have been posted on usga.org and randa.org and the organizations are now inviting feedback from golfers and stakeholders. Comments will be accepted through Friday, March 26, with the new Rules scheduled to be adopted on Jan. 1, 2022.
A comprehensive review of the Rules of Amateur Status began in late 2017, focusing on three main goals: to ensure the Rules are in the best interests of the game, reflect the modern game, and are easily understood and applied.
This review reaffirmed amateur golf’s important position in the game and the value in maintaining amateur status Rules to safeguard all the ways golf is played and enjoyed.
The result is a set of Rules that redefine the distinction between amateur and professional golf and provide a condition of eligibility – amateur status – for amateurs who compete in golf competitions.
As part of the modernization effort, it is proposed that the new Rules will identify only three acts that will result in a golfer losing amateur status:
* Accepting a prize in excess of the prize limit.
* Accepting payment for giving instruction.
* Accepting employment as a golf club professional or membership of an association of professional golfers.
To achieve this simplified approach, the following key changes are proposed:
* Eliminating the distinction between cash prizes and other prizes.
* Using the prize limit as the only way an amateur can lose amateur status through their play (meaning that entering or playing a competition as a professional would not, of itself, result in the loss of amateur status).
* Removing restrictions from the Rules surrounding competitions such as long-drive events, putting competitions and skills competitions that are not played as part of a tee-to-hole competition; and
* Eliminating all sponsorship restrictions.
“Golf is unique in its broad appeal to both recreational and competitive golfers,” said Craig Winter, USGA Senior Director, Rules of Golf and Amateur Status. “We understand and value how important amateur status is, not only to those who compete at the highest level of the amateur game, but for the millions of golfers at every age and skill level who enjoy competitive events at their home courses. These updates should help simplify these Rules and ensure the health of the amateur game.”
Grant Moir, Director of Rules at The R&A, said, “The Rules of Amateur Status play an important role in protecting the integrity of our self-regulating sport, but the code must continue to evolve. This is particularly so in relation to the modern elite amateur game, where many of the players need financial support to compete and develop to their full potential, and the proposed new Rules will give much greater scope for this.”
The proposed new Rules are accompanied by an overview document and explanations that detail the rationale for why changes are being proposed and, in some instances, why they have stayed the same.
Materials regarding the proposed new Rules, as well as a link to provide feedback can be found at usga.org/amateurstatus or randa.org.

SOURCE: USGA, R&A