The US Amateur comes at exactly the right time | Golf News and Tour Information
PARAMUS, NJ – Doomscrolling is taking over golf. Over the past several months, our curiosity about the evolution of professional gaming has only intensified. Who will be the next to jump? How much money is guaranteed? Doesn’t he care about human rights?
As I drive down tree-lined Country Club Road, I can’t (legally) check my phone. I can’t indulge in endless discussions trying to address the important issues that have consumed golf. When I pull into a parking spot, the noise returns, a torrent of words raining down an iPhone screen.
Yet as I walk the grounds of Ridgewood Country Club for the 122nd game of the US Amateur, the focus changes. Everything seems normal again. This is amateur golf at the highest level. For these players, discussions of a career in professional golf can wait. The priority is beautiful in its simplicity: Capture the Havemeyer Trophy.
On Monday, 312 players will play the first of two days of move play, spread across the long, winding Ridgewood and the challenging Arcola Country Club. All competitors except one will have a flag next to their name. Egor Eroshenko, who just completed his second season in Central Florida, is choosing not to compete under the Russian flag, the USGA has confirmed. Although not as widespread a problem as it has been in tennis, the subject is inevitable. In the world amateur golf ranking, neither the Russian Federation nor Belarus are present.
Just two years ago, the world faced a different kind of uncertainty. Was he even safe to play the Am? The show went on and Tyler Strafaci prevailed at Bandon Dunes. Last year, the USGA welcomed the brave new world of NIL with open arms. James Piot (photo, top) hoisted the Havemeyer to Oakmont in a knockout week. Today, Piot is a regular on the LIV Golf circuit. The acronym NIL seems inconsequential in comparison. Take your bag as the children say.
A lot of great players are here and deserve the glory (and potential riches) that can come with winning the US Amateur. Just two weeks ago, Oakmont semi-finalist Austin Greaser made a comeback against Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira in the Western Amateur final. No surprise, Greaser is one of the favorites this week. Neglected as a junior player to the point that he spent his high school days pitching Power 5 programs, Greaser landed in North Carolina, where he became a two-time All-American.
The Most Consistent Player of the Summer award goes to Caleb Surratt, a top junior who received the inaugural Elite Amateur Golf Series Cup on Friday. Surratt, who travels to Tennessee later this month, had a half-dozen top fives and one top 10 in the series, and last month reached the US Junior Amateur final. “I was thrilled to compete against the best fans in the country,” he said after receiving the award. (Part of the deal includes two chances to go against the pros – an exemption from the PGA Tour and the KFT)
The field is stacked, with 18 of the top 20 players in the world amateur rankings looking to grab one of the 64 spots in match play, which begins on Wednesday. Then there are the players who survived their 36-hole qualifier, which took place at 94 venues. The depth of talent combined with the match play format makes this anyone’s game. The champion will have survived six fierce rounds of match play, including a 36-hole final.
So, as weird as things have gotten in the world of golf, it’s a relief that we can do this for the 122nd time. Enjoy this American amateur, perhaps the last pure golf event.