In 1981, the USGA inaugurated its first new
championship in 19 years, the U.S. Mid-
Amateur. The Mid-Amateur, for amateur
of at least 25 years of age, provides a formal
national championship for the post-college
amateur, for whom the game is truly an
Before the arrival of the Mid-Amateur, the
college player could compete in the Amateur
Championship, sometimes successfully, but
these older amateurs faced greater odds.
they fit their golf around their work and
families, they were most often competing
against college golfers, for whom the game is
close to a full-time activity.
Only about 40 percent of those who qualify for
the U.S. Amateur Championship each year are
at least 25, although several have been quite
successful. For example, Bob Lewis Jr., then
reached the Amateur final in 1980, and the
semifinals in 1981 and 1986. Jay Sigel won
consecutive Amateur titles in 1982 and 1983
ages 37 and 38, respectively), then added the
Mid-Amateur title in 1983, 1985, and 1987. In
1986, Buddy Alexander, 33, a reinstated
amateur, won the U.S. Amateur. And in 1993,
41-year-old John Harris won the Amateur.
In general, however, most post-college
amateurs found themselves at a disadvantage
competing against college golfers. Thus, the
Mid-Amateur Championship was born.
Played at the Bellerive Country Club in St.
Louis, the first Mid-Amateur drew 1,638
in 1981. The field included three former
Amateur Champions: Gary Cowan (1966,
Marvin Giles III (1972), and Fred Ridley
Jim Holtgrieve, 33, of Des Peres, Mo.,
fellow Walker Cupper Bob Lewis Jr., 37, of
Warren, Ohio, in the final, 2 up.
In 1983, Jay Sigel, 39, of Berwyn, Pa.,
the first golfer in 53 years to win two USGA
Championships in the same year when he
the Mid-Amateur Championship to the U.S.
Amateur Championship he had won just 32
Sigel became the Mid-Amateur's first two-time
winner when he again captured the
championship in 1985. Sigel won his third Mid-
Amateur in 1987. Combined with his two U.S.
Amateur titles (1982, 1983) Sigel had won a
total of five USGA championships.
In 1985's first qualifying round, Don Bliss of
Louis, made holes-in-one on the eighth and
tenth holes at Brook Hollow Golf Club in
Texas. Bliss became the only player to score
two holes-in-one in one round of a USGA
Jim Stuart of Macon, Ga., became the first
player to win two consecutive Mid-Amateur
Championships when he won in 1990 and
The U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship has
continued to grow in popularity and in 1989
topped 3,000 entries for the first time.
In its short history, the championship's unique
age qualification has inspired similar
tournaments throughout the country and there
are now Mid-Amateur events in nearly every
In 2001, the final match, for the first time in
the history of the championship, was
from 18 to 36 holes.