The USGA returns to Chambers Bay for the third time on May 22
Among the first amateur majors to be cancelled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was the 2020 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, which meant that Todd Mitchell
and Scott Harvey
would have to wait another year to defend the title they won at Bandon Dunes last spring
After the cancellation, Jim Benson of The Pantagraph caught up with Mitchell
, who took a big-picture view as more and more life activities come to a halt.
In fact, Mitchell was more disappointed for his son Myles's baseball team, which he coaches.
From the article:
"My views on competition have changed a little bit over the past few years," the 42-year old Mitchell told Benson. "Obviously I still like competing, but I don't play near as much as I used to. I'm more disappointed for the fact our boys on our baseball team aren't able to practice as a group."
Mitchell, the 2008 U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up and 2002-2003 Illinois State Amateur champion is back with partner Scott Harvey at Chambers Bay this week to defend their 2019 title which they've had two years to relish.
Here are some facts about this year's championship at Chambers Bay, courtesy The USGA:
THE HOST COURSES: CHAMBERS BAY and THE HOME COURSE
Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., Chambers Bay opened in 2007. The course is built on the site of a former sand and gravel quarry adjacent to Puget Sound. Pierce County acquired the land in 1992. The course is the centerpiece of a 930-acre county park. Much like the traditional links courses of Scotland, Chambers Bay was designed to encourage the imaginative shotmaking that characterizes links golf. The course already has quite the pedigree, having hosted the 2010 U.S. Amateur and 2015 U.S. Open. All matches will be contested at Chambers Bay, which will set up at 7,475 yards and will play to a par of 37-35–72.
Opened in 2007, The Home Course was designed by Michael Asmundson and is a walkable layout with panoramic views of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains and Mount Rainier. The Home Course is cooperatively owned and operated by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association and Washington Golf. The Home Course, which will serve as the stroke-play co-host course for the two days of stroke play, will be set up at 7,279 yards and play to a par of 36-35–71.
The championship is open to teams (or sides) of amateurs, with each player’s Handicap Index® not exceeding 5.4. The deadline for entries was Sept. 9, 2020. There are no age restrictions and partners are not required to be from the same club, state or country. The USGA accepted 2,544 entries for the 2021 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball. The record number of entries is 2,548 for the 2020 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball. A starting field of 128 sides (256 players) will compete in the championship. Following 18-hole rounds of stroke play on May 22 and 23, the field will be cut to the low 32 sides for match play. Five 18-hole rounds of match play will determine the champion.
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Qualifying was conducted over 18 holes at 52 sites nationwide between Sept. 21, 2020 and May 3, 2021. Qualifying sites were in 36 states, including six in California and three each in Florida and New York.
A total of 17 sides or 34 players were fully exempt into the 2021 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball based on performances in USGA championships and other elite amateur competitions. Additional players gained exemptions into the championship by being in the top 400 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR) as of the close of entries on Sept. 9, 2020.
Scott Harvey/Todd Mitchell (2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball champions)
Logan Shuping/Blake Taylor (2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball runners-up)
Troy Vannucci/Vince Kwon (2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball semifinalists)
Taylor Wood/Andrew Medley (2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball semifinalists)
Chip Brooke/Marc Dull (2018 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball runners-up)
Carson Berry/Sam Tidd (2018 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball semifinalists)
Frankie Capan/Shuai Ming Wong (2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball champions)
Clark Collier/Kyle Hudelson (2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball runners-up)
Benjamin Baxter/Andrew Buchanan (2016 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball champions)
Nathan Smith/Todd White (2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball champions)
Eric LeFante/Tyler Brewington (Special exemption granted by USGA)
Derek Busby/Stewart Hagestad (Both players among Top 400 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Davis Chatfield/Palmer Jackson (Both players among Top 400 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Kelly Chinn/David Ford (Both players among Top 400 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Angus Flanagan/Van Holmgren (Both players among Top 400 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Luke Potter/Preston Summerhays (Both players among Top 400 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Jackson Suber/Hunter Wolcott (Both players among Top 400 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
SCHEDULE OF PLAY
Practice rounds will take place May 20-21, and the championship schedule is as follows:
May 22 (Saturday): First round, stroke play
May 23 (Sunday): Second round, stroke play
May 24 (Monday): Round of 32, match play
May 25 (Tuesday): Round of 16 and quarterfinal rounds, match play
May 26 (Wednesday): Semifinal and championship rounds, match play
WHAT THE WINNERS RECEIVE
A 10-year exemption from qualifying for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, provided the side remains intact and amateur
Gold medals and custody of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Trophy for one year
Their names inscribed on a plaque recognizing all 2021 USGA champions that will reside in the Hall of Champions at the USGA Golf Museum in Liberty Corner, N.J.
Exemptions into the 2021 U.S. Amateur Championship (Aug. 9-15) and any other USGA championships in 2021 for which they are age-eligible
Veteran mid-amateurs Scott Harvey, of Kernersville, N.C., and Todd Mitchell, of Bloomington, Ill., defeated East Carolina University teammates Logan Shuping and Blake Taylor, 2 and 1, in the final match on the Old Macdonald course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Ore. The 2020 championship, originally scheduled to be contested at Philadelphia Cricket Club in Philadelphia, Pa., was canceled due to health and safety concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship was played for the first time in 2015, along with the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball. The championships are the first additions to the USGA competition roster since the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur was first conducted in 1987. The addition of the two Amateur Four-Ball championships to the USGA competition schedule was announced on Feb. 11, 2013.
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2015: Nathan Smith & Todd White def. Sherrill Britt & Greg Earnhardt, 7 and 5; The Olympic Club (Lake Course), San Francisco, Calif.
2016: Benjamin Baxter & Andrew Buchanan def. Brandon Cigna & Ben Warnquist, 3 and 2; Winged Foot G.C. (East Course), Mamaroneck, N.Y.
2017: Frankie Capan & Shuai Ming Wong def. Clark Collier & Kyle Hudelson, 2 and 1; Pinehurst R. & C.C. (Course No. 2), Village of Pinehurst, N.C.
2018: Garrett Barber & Cole Hammer def. Chip Brooke & Mark Dull, 4 and 3; Jupiter Hills Club (Hills Course), Tequesta, Fla.
2019: Scott Harvey & Todd Mitchell def. Logan Shuping & Blake Taylor, 2 and 1; Bandon Dunes Golf Resort (Old Macdonald Course), Bandon, Ore.
2020: No Championship - COVID-19 pandemic
In response to the growing popularity of the four-ball format around the world, the USGA inaugurated the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball in 2015 to ensure that a spirited team dynamic would be featured at the game’s highest level. The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship Trophy marks a significant milestone in USGA history, as it and its companion trophy for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship were the first new commemorative pieces commissioned by the USGA since 1953. The etching on its face reflects golfers in contemporary attire, while the cup’s design pays homage to the Association’s storied traditions. The trophy was designed by Colin Hellier, with engravings by David Williams, and manufactured by Nicholas Winton, Ltd., of Cheshire, England.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FOUR-BALL AND FOURSOMES?
While each involves four players, four-ball and foursomes are different formats.
In four-ball, matches are played in pairs (a player and a partner, called a side, against another player and partner), with each golfer playing his or her own ball on each hole. At the end of each hole, the player with the lowest score wins that hole for the side. In stroke play, the low score is the side’s score for that hole.
Foursomes matches are also played in pairs (one side against another side), but each pair only plays with one ball. In this format, each player takes turns hitting the ball from the teeing ground and during play of each hole, with “Player A” hitting the tee shot, “Player B” the second shot, “Player A” the third, and so on. While the side can choose the order, if “Player A” hits the tee shots on odd-numbered holes, “Player B” must hit them on even-numbered holes.
May 14-18, 2022: Country Club of Birmingham, Birmingham, Ala. (West and East Courses)
May 20-24, 2023: Kiawah Island (S.C.) Club (Cassique and River Courses)
May 25-29, 2024: Philadelphia (Pa.) Cricket Club (Wissahickon and Militia Hill Courses)