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USGA Announces Addition of Four-Ball Championships to Tourney Schedule
San Francisco, Calif. (July 29, 2013) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball Championship sites for the 2015 and 2016 competitive calendars. In 2015, The Olympic Club, in San Francisco, and Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, in Bandon, Ore., will host the men's and women's competitions, respectively. Winged Foot Golf Club, in Mamaroneck, N.Y., will serve as the 2016 host site for the men, while Streamsong Resort, southeast of Tampa, Fla., will host the women in 2016.
The introduction of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball Championships to the USGA's competition roster was announced earlier this year. The new championships, which will be held annually between mid-March and late May, are the first to be added to the USGA championship schedule since 1995, when the USGA Men's and Women's State Team Championships were created to mark the Association's centennial.
Utah Golf Association Executive Director Bill Walker is excited about the new four-ball tournaments being added to the USGA Championship schedule of events.
“These tournaments will be well received in our state and will give the four-ball format a big boost,” Walker said. “It is a fun format that develops camaraderie among players and will be good for golf. It's the standard form of play at most clubs and we should encourage more tournaments in that format,” he said.
The Utah Golf Association already has a Four-Ball championship. It is held every March in St. George as a season opener. It was originally a four-ball/scramble format but has been changed to a two-day four-ball event.
The announcement of the first two host sites for each championship was made during an event at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.
“We're thrilled to bring the first two years of Amateur Four-Ball Championships to historic clubs that have hosted a number of USGA championships, as well as to celebrated newer venues,” said Thomas J. O'Toole Jr., USGA vice president and chairman of Championship Committee. “As part of our ongoing commitment to support and advance amateur competition, the four-ball format, which is widely popular at the state and regional levels and at golf clubs around the U.S., is sure to produce a spirited team dynamic and provide enjoyment for both the players and spectators at some of the finest courses in the game.”
The 2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball is scheduled for April 30-May 6, with both courses (Lake and Ocean) at The Olympic Club set to host 36-hole stroke-play qualifying and the club's famed Lake Course to host the championship's match-play bracket. It will be the 10th USGA championship hosted by The Olympic Club. Five U.S. Opens have been contested on the club's Lake Course, including Jack Fleck's three-stroke playoff victory over Ben Hogan in 1955 and Billy Casper's four-stroke playoff win over Arnold Palmer in 1966. Webb Simpson (2012), Lee Janzen (1998) and Scott Simpson (1987) each produced come-from-behind victories there. Olympic's Lake Course, which was originally designed by Sam Whiting and opened for play in 1927, has also hosted three U.S. Amateurs: 1958 (won by Charles Coe), 1981 (won by Nathaniel Crosby) and 2007 (won by Colt Knost). In addition, Sihwan Kim won the 2004 U.S. Junior Amateur there.
“We are honored that the USGA has accepted our invitation to host the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship in 2015,” said Dennis F. Murphy, president of The Olympic Club. “We believe our courses will offer a wonderful challenge for the top amateurs and hosting this championship is consistent with our club's founding purpose of fostering amateur athletics.”
In 2015, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort will host the U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball, its fifth USGA championship. The championship will be played from April 30-May 6 on the resort's Bandon Dunes Course. The resort's Pacific Dunes Course was the site of the 2006 Curtis Cup Match, with the USA defeating Great Britain and Ireland, 11½-6 ½. The 2007 U.S. Mid-Amateur was held on the Bandon Dunes Course, with Trip Kuehne defeating Dan Whitaker, 9 and 7, in the championship match. Old Macdonald and Bandon Trails were the host courses for both the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links (won by Corbin Mills) and the 2011 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links (won by Brianna Do).
“On behalf of the staff and caddies at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, we are honored to host the inaugural U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball Championship,” said owner Mike Keiser. “The four-ball format is the most popular among our resort guests and amateurs alike, and we are excited to bring it to a USGA championship.”
The East and West courses at Winged Foot Golf Club, just north of New York City in Westchester County, will be used for the 2016 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship, with the club's East Course used as the venue for the championship's match-play bracket. The 2016 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship is scheduled for May 19-25, and will be the 12th USGA championship conducted at Winged Foot, which is also scheduled to host the U.S. Open on its West Course for the sixth time in 2020.
Winged Foot opened for play in 1923 and has a rich and storied history. The East Course, which will undergo a major restoration conducted by architect Gil Hanse, has been the venue for two U.S. Women's Opens (1957, 1972) and the first U.S. Senior Open, held in 1980. Betsy Rawls won the third of her four U.S. Women's Open championships in 1957, while Susie Maxwell Berning captured the second of her three Open titles in 1972. Roberto De Vicenzo won his only U.S. Senior Open by four strokes when the championship was played for the first time.
“Winged Foot has once again been honored by the USGA to host one of our national championships,” said John M. Schneider, president of Winged Foot Golf Club. “The site of the 2016 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship will be our treasured East Course, which over the years has hosted the U.S. Women's Open and the inaugural U.S. Senior Open. We look forward to adding this exciting new competition to the long list of USGA events held over our two magnificent A.W. Tillinghast courses.”
Streamsong Resort will host the 2016 U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball Championship, which is scheduled for May 19-25. The Women's Amateur Four-Ball Championship will be the first USGA championship for Streamsong, which will host the event on its Blue Course. Streamsong is an outstanding new venue with two courses that opened for play in 2012. Its Red and Blue courses incorporate hills, dramatic landforms and sweeping sand dunes to deliver both beauty and challenge. The courses were designed by highly respected golf architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (Red Course) and Tom Doak (Blue Course).
“As a strong proponent of amateur golf, Streamsong is delighted to be one of the first venues to host the new U.S. Women's Four Ball Championship. It should be an excellent test of golf skills,” said Rich Mack, Executive Vice President of The Mosaic Company and sponsor of Streamsong Resort.
Eligibility for the national four-ball championships will be limited to amateurs, with no age restrictions. Partners comprising teams or sides will not be required to be from the same club, state or country. Entry is limited to individuals with a USGA Handicap Index® not to exceed 5.4 for men and 14.4 for women.
The USGA's amateur four-ball championships will begin as early as next August with 18-hole sectional qualifying conducted by state and regional golf associations at dozens of sites across the nation. The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball will consist of 128 and 64 two-player teams, respectively, each playing their own ball throughout the round. Each team's score will be determined by using the lower score of the partners for each hole. After 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying, each field will be reduced to the low 32 teams for the championship's match-play bracket, from which the eventual men's and women's champions will be determined.
About the USGA
The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, Equipment Standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA's working jurisdiction comprises the United States, its territories and Mexico.
The USGA is a global leader in the development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game's history and funds an ongoing “For the Good of the Game” charitable giving program. Additionally, the USGA's Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents in more than 50 countries.