US Amateur History and the USGA at Oakland Hills

Oakland Hills Porch-7127095U.S. AMATEUR HISTORY

This is the 116th U.S. Amateur Championship. The U.S. Amateur Championship is the oldest golf championship in America, one day older than the U.S. Open. Other than an eight-year period from 1965-1972, when it was contested at stroke play, the Amateur has been a match-play championship.

Throughout its history, the U.S. Amateur has been the most coveted of all amateur titles. Many of the great names of professional golf, such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gene Littler, Lanny Wadkins, Mark O’Meara, Hal Sutton, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, grace the Havemeyer Trophy.

It was, however, legendary amateur Robert T. Jones Jr. who first attracted national media coverage and sparked spectator attendance at the U.S. Amateur. Jones captured the championship five times (1924, 1925, 1927, 1928 and 1930). His 1930 victory was a landmark moment in golf history when, at Merion Cricket Club in Ardmore, Pa., Jones completed the Grand Slam, winning the four major American and British championships in one year.

Sixty-six years later, in 1996, Woods attracted similar interest and enthusiasm at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore., when he won a record third straight U.S. Amateur, having registered 18 consecutive match-play victories. In 1994, Woods, at 18, had first entered the record book as the youngest ever to win the U.S. Amateur, following his three consecutive Junior Amateur titles (1991-1993). That record for youngest champion has since been broken twice, first by 17-year-old Danny Lee in 2008 at Pinehurst No. 2 in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C., and then in 2009, when 17-year-old Byeong-Hun An won at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., with a 7-and-5 victory over Ben Martin of Greenwood, S.C.

2015 CHAMPION

Bryson DeChambeau, 21, of Clovis, Calif., became the fifth player to win the NCAA Championship and the U.S. Amateur Championship in the same year when he claimed the Havemeyer Trophy with a 7-and-6 victory over Derek Bard at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club. DeChambeau, who took NCAA individual honors three months earlier, joined Jack Nicklaus (1961), Phil Mickelson (1990), Tiger Woods (1996) and Ryan Moore (2004) in winning both championships in the same year. In the U.S. Amateur final, DeChambeau, who was 2 down through seven holes, swung the match on No. 8 when he chipped in for a winning birdie from deep greenside rough before winning the 10th hole with another chip-in that squared the match. He later took holes 14, 15 and 16 for a 3-up advantage. DeChambeau’s lead fell to 1 up when he bogeyed the par-5 19th hole, but then he won four of the next five holes, including three with birdies, to build a 5-up margin. DeChambeau, who competed at Southern Methodist University, increased his lead to 8 up by winning the 26th, 27th and 28th holes. Bard, a member of the University of Virginia team, defeated world No. 1 Jon Rahm, of Spain, and Vanderbilt All-American Hunter Stewart on his path to the final.

PREVIOUS USGA CHAMPIONSHIPS AT OAKLAND HILLS (10)

1924 U.S. Open – Cyril Walker by three strokes over Robert T. Jones Jr., 297-300

1929 U.S. Women’s Amateur – Glenna Collett def. Leona Pressler, 4 and 3

1937 U.S. Open – Ralph Guldahl by two strokes over Sam Snead, 281-283

1951 U.S. Open – Ben Hogan by two strokes over Clayton Heafner, 287-289

1961 U.S. Open – Gene Littler by one stroke over Doug Sanders, Bob Goalby, 281-282

1981 U.S. Senior Open – Arnold Palmer def. Bob Stone, Billy Casper, 289 (70) – 289 (74) – 289 (77)

1985 U.S. Open – Andy North by one stroke over Denis Watson, Dave Barr, Tze-Chung Chen, 279-280

1991 U.S. Senior Open – Jack Nicklaus def. Chi Chi Rodriguez, 282 (65) – 282 (69)

1996 U.S. Open – Steve Jones by one stroke over Davis Love III, Tom Lehman, 278-279

2002 U.S. Amateur – Ricky Barnes def. Hunter Mahan, 2 and 1

OTHER CHAMPIONSHIPS AT OAKLAND HILLS

1922 Western Open: Mike Brady won by 10 strokes over Jock Hutchinson, Laurie Ayton, 291-301

1972 PGA Championship: Gary Player won by two strokes over Tommy Aaron, Jim Jamieson, 281-283

1979 PGA Championship: David Graham def. Ben Crenshaw, 272-272 (third playoff hole)

2004 Ryder Cup Match: Team Europe def. Team USA, 18½-9½

2008 PGA Championship: Padraig Harrington won by two strokes over Ben Curtis, Sergio Garcia, 277-279

USGA CHAMPIONSHIPS IN MICHIGAN

This will be the 32nd USGA championship conducted in Michigan and the fourth U.S. Amateur. The 2002 U.S. Amateur was conducted at Oakland Hills Country Club. Ricky Barnes defeated Hunter Mahan, 2 and 1, in the final.

U.S. Amateur Championships in Michigan (3):

1915: Country Club of Detroit, Grosse Pointe Farms (Robert A. Gardner def. John G. Anderson, 5 and 4)

1954: Country Club of Detroit, Grosse Pointe Farms (Arnold Palmer def. Robert Sweeny, 1 up)

2002: Oakland Hills Country Club, Bloomfield Hills (Ricky Barnes def. Hunter Mahan, 2 and 1)

OAKLAND HILLS HISTORY

Oakland Hills was founded by Joseph Mack and Norval Hawkins at a meeting of 46 friends and associates at the Detroit Athletic Club on Oct. 17, 1916. In late January of 1917, Donald Ross visited the property for the first time and told the founders that: “The Lord intended this for a golf course.” In 1918, the club hired Walter Hagen as its first professional and he served in that role until 1920, winning the 1919 U.S. Open, while “playing out of Oakland Hills.”

The clubhouse, designed by club member C. Howard Crane, was completed in 1922 and included 24 rooms. Crane’s local architecture work also included Orchestra Hall, the Fox Theater, and the current Detroit Opera House.

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