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USGA to Retire State Team Championships After 2017
Michigan won the 2016 USGA State Team Championship <br>(USGA Photo)
Michigan won the 2016 USGA State Team Championship
(USGA Photo)
FAR HILLS, NJ (March 30, 2017) -- The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced the retirement of the Men’s State Team Championship and Women’s State Team Championship, following the completion of the 2017 competitions calendar.

“The USGA continually evaluates its championships and the way in which they are conducted,” said Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman. “The decision to discontinue the State Team Championships follows a thorough review and analysis, including consultation with representatives from state and regional golf associations.”

The USGA State Team Championships were first conducted in 1995 as part of the Association’s centennial celebration and were originally intended to be one-time only events. The championships, in which each state was represented by non-collegiate, amateur golfers, helped cap the USGA’s year-long festivities.

State and regional golf associations sent three- player male and female teams to compete in a stroke-play format similar to the World Amateur Team Championship, in which the best two scores of each state’s three competitors counted on each of the three days of competition. Due to its initial success, the championship continued on a biennial basis and eventually all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia competed.

The Club at Las Campanas (Sunset Course), in Santa Fe, N.M., will host the final Women’s State Team on Sept. 26-28, 2017. In 2015, Georgia rallied past second-round leader Florida to post a three-stroke victory and claim the Judy Bell Trophy. The Men’s State Team was conducted for the last time in 2016 at the Country Club of Birmingham (Ala.), where Michigan won the championship by three strokes over Arizona and North Carolina. Each championship will have been contested a total of 12 times.

The retirement of the State Team Championships, coupled with the addition of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship, to be held on July 12-15 at Chicago Golf Club, in Wheaton, Ill., transforms the USGA championship model starting in 2018.

“The USGA expresses its gratitude to all the champions and competitors of the USGA State Team Championships, as well as the host clubs and the hundreds of volunteers who contributed their time and efforts,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director, Championships and Governance. “In our reviews and discussions, it became quite clear that the conditions of competition had evolved, and there were significant differences in the respective team selection processes. After considering the matter for more than a year, the review supported increased focus toward other areas of USGA competition, both present and future, including the continued enhancement of the local and sectional qualifying experience for players across all USGA championships.”

Both championships boast a list of impressive performances over their histories. John Harris, the 1993 U.S. Amateur champion and four-time USA Walker Cup Team member, led Minnesota to Men’s State Team victories in 1997 and 2001. The 2003 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion, Brandt Snedeker, who has won eight PGA Tour titles, and Tim Jackson, who won a pair of U.S. Mid-Amateurs, helped Tennessee win the 2003 crown. Nathan Smith, a four-time U.S. Mid- Amateur champion and a member of three USA Walker Cup Teams, helped Pennsylvania to the 2009 championship. Texas captured a record four Men’s State Teams, including 2007 when Trip Kuehne, who won that year’s Mid-Amateur, was a key figure.

The Women’s State Team has also attracted an array of the game’s top players. Carol Semple Thompson, who has won seven USGA championships, including the 1973 U.S. Women’s Amateur, helped Pennsylvania garner the inaugural Women’s State Team in 1995. Virginia Derby Grimes, the 2018 USA Curtis Cup captain and 1998 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur winner, led Alabama to its lone title in 1997. Mariah Stackhouse, who became the first African American player to compete for the USA Curtis Cup Team in 2014 and led Stanford to the NCAA title the following year, helped Georgia to the second of its four State Team titles in 2009, while Margaret Shirley-Starosto, the 2014 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, contributed to the Peach State’s record fourth championship in 2015. Laura Coble, the 2009 Women’s Mid- Amateur runner-up, was part of Georgia’s first three winning entries.

With the addition of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open and discontinuation of the USGA State Team Championships, the USGA will conduct 14 championships in 2018.

ABOUT THE USGA Men's State Team

The USGA State Team Championships grew out of the Association's Centennial Celebration in 1995, and have been held on an every-other- year basis since. 52 men’s teams (including teams from Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia) compete for the trophy named in honor of former USGA President James Hand. Fifty women’s teams compete for the trophy named for past USGA President Judy Bell.

State golf associations select three of their top non-college amateurs to represent them in this biennial team championship. The top two scores of the three players count toward the team total for each of the three days.

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