Western Amateur Returning to Point O’ Woods
Golf’s third oldest Amateur Championship — The Western Amateur — will return to its long-time home at Point O’ Woods Golf Club in Benton Township, Michigan on July 29 – August 3, 2019. The club previously hosted the Western Amateur from 1971 to 2008.
The Western Amateur was first contested in 1899. Over the years, it has produced a Hall of Fame worthy list of champions, including Chick Evans, Francis Ouimet, Frank Stranahan, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf, Lanny Wadkins, Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, Hal Sutton, Scott Verplank, Chris DiMarco, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard and Tiger Woods.
Chris DiMarco, winner of the 1988 Western Amateur said
Without a doubt winning this tournament is by far the most prestigious event that ever won as an amateur. The U.S. Am and the British Am and this Am, the Western Am. Those are the three tournaments I think that as an amateur player that you strive to win. It’s the three majors of amateur golf.
The Western Amateur is an international competition. Last year’s field included players from Australia, Denmark, England, Finland, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, the United States, Venezuela and Wales.
Winners of the Western Amateur often are described as “survivors.” it is one of golf’s most grueling competitions.
Competition at the Western Amateur begins with two 18 hole stroke play rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday. The field of 156 is then cut to the low 44 scores and ties.
Players making the cut play 36 holes of stroke play on Thursday. The low 16 advance to match play on Friday.
On Friday, two rounds of 18 hole matches cut the field to four semifinalists. These survivors then compete in 18 hole matches on Saturday. The winners of the morning matches play in the championship match Saturday afternoon.
Do the math on that one. The winner will have played (assuming every match goes to 18 holes), 144 holes over five days.
Point O’ Woods is a Robert Trent Jones design that opened in 1958. “The Point” first hosted the Western Open in 1963, then again in 1965. In 1971, Point O’ Woods began a 38 year run of hosting the Western Open.
Point O’ Woods is tight, with tree-lined fairways will severely punish wayward shots. It plays at around 7,100 yards in competition.
Justin Leonard, winner of the 1992 and 1993 Western Amateur said:
When I first saw the golf course, I wasn’t sure how I was ever going to be able to play the second hole. Once I got through that, I thought. I’m the only person who can fit it through some of these corridors off the tee.”
The Western Amateur is sponsored by the Western Golf Association, which was established in 1899 as an alternative to the USGA for “western” golf clubs.
In 1930, the WGA, along with noted amateur Charles “Chick” Evans established the “Evans Scholars Foundation” The Foundation awards full tuition and housing college scholarships to high-achieving caddies with limited financial means. There currently are nearly 11,000 alumni of the Evans Scholar program.
Funds for the Evans Scholars Program are raised by 32,500 par Club members, as well as proceeds from the WGA-run BMW Championship (once called the Western Open). More than $385 million in scholarships have been provided since its inception.