PINE VALLEY, New Jersey (Sept. 24, 2014) -- The Crump Cup -- the most prestigious independent match play event in the United States -- tees off Thursday in New Jersey. An invitation to play is seldom turned down.
The Mid-Amateur and Senior field includes notable players like 2014 U.S. Mid-Am champion Scott Harvey (N. Carolina), defending champ Gene Elliott (Iowa), recent Metedeconk Invitational winner Randy Haag (San Franciscan and winner of the 2000 and 2002 Crump Cup), and many others. As a matter of fact, the only top-ranked Mid-Am player who doesn't traditionally participate is Nathan Smith of Pennsylvania. (You've got to work sometime!)
Mike McCoy, the 2013 US Mid Am champ from Iowa with multiple Crump Cup titles, is noticeably absent, but for good reason. His son is being inducted into the sports hall of fame at the same high school where he enjoys the same status -- they are the first father/son team to achieve that.
At last notice, a rain storm is moving into the area, so players out for practice rounds on Wednesday on a fast and firm course might see something different on Thursday, when rains are expected to pour most of the day. Pine Valley will likely return to the norm as the week moves on and the sun dries things out. There is plenty of sand under the ground there. (And notably, there are no rakes in any of the waste areas or green-side bunkers.)
AmateurGolf.com will have daily coverage, including full medal play and match play bracket results, each day during the tournament.
Haag, an Olympic Club member from San Francisco, calls Pine Valley one of his favorites. He has documented the layout on his blog, RandyHaag.com, and calls the 5th hole (pictured) one of the greatest par-3 holes in the world.
He told AmateurGolf.com he got lost in the remote area the course is located (near Clementon, NJ) on his first trip to the Crump Cup.
"I asked twice for directions, but nobody could tell me how to get there," said Haag.
Now he knows the secret, look for a road between a water park and some railroad tracks.
ABOUT THE CRUMP CUP
The first Crump Cup tournament was held in 1922. It is named for George Arthur Crump, a hotelier and golf course architect primarily known for designing and building Pine Valley Golf Club. The format for the four days is two rounds of stroke play qualifying, followed by four rounds of match play. Players are flighted according to their qualifying position, and a separate Senior flight includes two of those flights. The final round has traditionally held on the last Sunday in September. It's the only day of the year when the public is invited to the grounds of Pine Valley; spectators park at a nearby school and are bused in to enjoy the grounds and watch top level golfers compete.
RECORD HOLDER: Jay Sigel has won the event the most times, with nine victories between 1975 and 1993.