Every year, the champion and runner-up of the U.S. Amateur Championship receive exempt spots in the following year’s U.S. Open. This year, the top two finishers at the 118th edition of the nation’s amateur championship being contested at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course, August 13-19, will earn a bonus – a return ticket to the legendary golf course on the Monterey Peninsula next June to compete in the professional national championship.
It is a rarity for the USGA to contest both championships at the same venue in back-to-back years but as Pebble Beach prepares to celebrate its Centennial next year, the timing couldn’t be better. In fact, the 2018 U.S. Amateur kicks off a 10-year stretch of USGA championships at Pebble Beach along with the 2023 Women’s U.S. Open and the 2027 U.S. Open. But let’s not jump too far ahead.
Over the next few months the spotlight is on the U.S. Amateur, when Pebble Beach plays host for the fifth time and where a field of 312 amateur golfers will compete to have their name etched on the Havemeyer Trophy along with an illustrious resume of past champs who won at Pebble Beach (Harrison R. Johnston (1929); Robert “Skee” Riegel (1947): Jack Nicklaus (1961); and David Gossett (1999)).
The chase begins July 2, at 96 qualifying sites (must have a handicap index no greater than 1.4) across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Northern California venues include Sunnyside CC in Fresno and Green Valley CC on July 9; Bayonet and Black Horse GC in Seaside on July 11; and Castlewood CC in Pleasanton and Santa Rosa G &CC on July 25). Qualifiers then advance to Pebble Beach GL and Spyglass Hill GC for 36 holes of stroke-play competition the first two days to determine the 64 contestants who will continue with the match play competition at Pebble Beach GL.
For those that don’t qualify and regardless of handicap, the U.S. Amateur Challenge at Pebble Beach will allow anyone to play these world-class courses concurrent with the U.S. Amateur. At a package cost of $5,500 (3 nights at The Inn at Spanish Bay, 3 rounds of golf and special amenities), participants will play one round at Spyglass Hill GC and one round at Spanish Bay GL after which, the low 60 teams will advance to the final round of challenge at Pebble Beach GL and the remaining teams play at Spyglass.
“There are very few who get to qualify for a USGA Championship to experience what it’s like playing under those tournament conditions and getting the player treatment the USGA is so well known for, says John Sawin, V.P. and Director of Golf Operations at Pebble Beach Resorts. “We are going to create that experience for the average golfer.”
The U.S. Amateur offers a special opportunity the professional tournaments don’t – no fairway ropes. Void of that restriction, golf fans are given the opportunity to stroll up close and personal with these competitors on the verge of stardom.
To experience this historic event, ticket prices are $25 (daily), $75 (weekly), $125 (single day, 10-ticket book), and $1,500 (Fairway One Hospitality – weekly). Visit pebblebeach.com/2010usamatuer.
The U.S. Amateur is also seeking 450 volunteers. If interested in visit 2018usamvolunteers,usga.org to fill out an application.
By Robert Kaufman