SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (July 29, 2013) — The United States Golf Association announced on Monday the unveiling of the association's newest national championships, the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball championships, and their respective sites.
John Bodenhamer, Senior Managing Director of Rules, Competitions & Equipment Standards, announced that the storied Olympic Club would play host to the inaugural men's event, April 30-May 6, 2015.
The Olympic Club will be hosting it's 10th USGA-sanctioned event.
"I speak on behalf of our 9,000 members when I say that we are truly honored that the USGA has accepted our invitation to host the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at our historic site," said Dennis Murphy, President of The Olympic Club.
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort on the Oregon Coast will be the site of the inaugural women's event, also April 30-May 6, 2015, becoming the fifth USGA championship hosted at the resort.
“On behalf of the staff and caddies at Bandon Dunes, we are honored to host the inaugural U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship,” said owner Mike Keiser. “The four-ball format is the most popular among our resort guests and amateurs alike, and we are excited to bring it to a USGA championship.”
Winged Foot Golf Club outside of New York will host the 2016 men's event, it's 12th USGA event, while a new course will be put on the map for the 2016 Women's Four-Ball: Streamsong Resort in Bowling Green, Fla., just southeast of Tampa.
Tournament players will experience two brand new golf courses, the Ben Crenshaw-designed Red Course and the Tom Doak-designed Blue Course. Both courses opened in 2012.
"While a newcomer to USGA competition, Streamsong is an outstanding championship venue in every way," Bodenhamer said. "We feel it will be a truly challenging test."
Match play for the 2016 Women's Four-Ball will be conducted on Streamsong's Blue Course.
The championships will be run much like other USGA match play events, like the U.S. Amateur, consisting of 36 holes of stroke play before giving way to a 32-team match play bracket.
The stroke play portion of the 2015 men's championship will aid in helping The Olympic Club to reveal it's newly designed Ocean Course, which will pair with the famed Lake Course to host the 36 holes of stroke play.
"We are especially thrilled that our newly enhanced Ocean Course will be thrown into the national spotlight," Murphy said.
Match play will be played strictly on The Olympic Club's Lake Course.
Monday's announcement comes on the heels of a nearing conclusion of the USGA championships being replaced by the Amateur Four-Ball: the U.S. Public Links championships. Conducted since 1922 for the men and 1977 for the women, the U.S. Public Links have seen famed golfers such as Trevor Immelman, Brandt Snedeker and Michelle Wie take home its championship trophy.
2014 will be the final time these two events will take place, with the men's championship concluding at Sand Creek Station Golf Course in Kansas and the women's championship signing off at The Home Course in Washington.
The USGA believes the four-ball format, a new edition to USGA-run tournaments, will build on the popularity of other four-ball events run by state and regional golf associations.
"Because of what we've seen at the state and regional level with it being such a popular and exciting format, we felt the time was right for a national championship," Bodenhamer said. "We feel that it will hopefully appeal to a new set of players that maybe haven't experienced USGA competition before.
"We think we're broadening our horizons," he said.
Because the championships will be taking place as early as April 30, the USGA will extend qualifying dates for the events as far back as the fall of the previous year to assist those golfers from northern states who might be coming out of "tough winters."
"What you're going to see is a seven and a half month window of qualifying, which is something we've never done before," Bodenhamer said.
Otherwise, qualifying will be similar to other USGA events such as the U.S. Mid-Amateur, with various sites across the United States hosting 18-hole qualifying tournaments.