The prestigious Western Amateur, known as one of the top amateur events in the the country will no longer be played exclusively at its home for the past 38 years, the Point O’Woods Golf and Country Club, located in Benton Harbor, Mich.
With the tournaments contract running out after the 2008 tournament, the Western Golf Association is looking to rotate the tournament’s location over several courses, including the Trent Jones-designed Point O’Woods.
Citing declining attendance of the event in recent years, Point O’Woods president Mike Piraino said the decision would end up being beneficial to both parties.
Point O’Woods first hosted the Western in 1963, then became the exclusive host in 1971. Before that, the tournament took place at courses throughout the Midwest, while venturing as far west as Del Monte and Los Angeles Country Club and as far east as Pinehurst.
The Western Amateur was first played in 1899 at the Glen View Golf Club in Illinois, and has been come to be called “The Masters of Amateur Golf” and may be the toughest amateur tournament to win with a 72-hole stroke play championship and a cut down to 16 for match play.
The tournament awards 100 exemptions for prominent college layers and has been won by such notables as Tiger Woods (in 1994 for his first major amateur victory) Phil Mickelson (1991), Hall Sutton (1979, 1980) and Curtis Strange (1974).
The 2007 event saw 2006 Western Junior champ Jhared Hack edge Alex Prugh 1-up.