Southwestern Am to make a revolutionary format change in 2020
May 14, 2019 - One of the longest-running majors in amateur golf makes a bold move to expand its reach and impact
John Ranslem, executive director of the Southwestern Golf Association which conducts the event, said the change in format was made “after careful consideration of changes in the game, and the recognition of the increasing impact that women are having on the game.”
He indicated that after consulting with college coaches, state and regional golf associations and other important leaders in the game that there are very few “high-profile amateur events for women. We believe that our new format will resonate with both men and women players and bring an entirely new dynamic to our tournament.”
For more than 90 years, the Southwestern Amateur was contested at clubs throughout the southwestern United States. In 2020, tournament officials and the management of the Desert Mountain Club signed a five-year agreement for the club to host the event on two of its Jack Nicklaus-designed courses in extreme northeast Scottsdale offering dramatic Sonoran Desert scenery at the foot of the McDowell Mountains.
The Cochise Course (Desert Mountain photo)
One of the premier golf clubs in the entire world, Desert Mountain has also been the home to multiple professional tournaments including the Champions Tour Charles Schwab Cup in 2012 and 2014-2016.
The 2020 event – scheduled to be played June 17-20 – will be contested on Desert Mountain’s Cochise and Chiricahua courses which are recognized for their risk/reward par-5s, dramatic rock outcroppings and stunning views to the south of the greater Phoenix area.
Many college coaches have responded positively to the new format. Matt Thurmond, head men’s coach at Arizona State University, said, “The Southwestern Amateur has taken a bold step in creating a unique tournament that will provide some of the country’s top men and women collegiate players, as well as mid-amateurs, with an opportunity to showcase their skills in a one-of-a-kind competition on two spectacular golf courses.
Dana Dormann, the head women’s coach at San Jose State University, also endorsed the new Southwestern Amateur format. “Out-of-the-box thinking has not always been a hallmark for amateur golf – especially when it pertains to women players. Over the course of the last few years, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Golf Channel’s coverage of the women’s NCAA championships have markedly increased the exposure of our sport. The Southwestern Amateur’s new format is another great opportunity for us to showcase the talents of the many outstanding female amateurs from throughout the country.”
With a field size of 144 players, the Southwestern Amateur will be a highly selective event, with male applicants having a maximum index of 1.4 and a 3.2 index for women.
In addition to playing on two of the most spectacular layouts in all of the country, the Southwestern Amateur offers players a number of opportunities not always available at other events, including complimentary hosted housing at Desert Mountain, free use of golf carts during the 72-hole competition, and an opportunity to “hopefully compete against some of the best men and women amateur players in the world,” Ranslem concluded.
ABOUT THE Southwestern Amateur
72-hole stroke play championship for national-
amateurs with a handicap index of
1.4 or better. After 36 holes, the field will be
cut to the low 36 and ties. The
SWGA Selection Committee will select players
compete based upon
exemptions, playing resume and rankings.
The SWGA reserves the right to invite
amateurs of national and international
reputation, as well as other amateurs "of
note", to enter into the tournament.
Applicants are urged to submit their entries
with golf resumes of accomplishment in
major tournaments and other competitive
View Complete Tournament Information