Western Amateur back at Glen View 122 years after hosting the 1st
- Western Amateur photo
- Western Amateur photo

“GOLF! Everyone off the train for golf”.

The year was 1899 and suburban Chicago was just being discovered. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 had come and gone, and the city’s population was exploding. Optimistic sportsmen began looking for outlets to play golf, tennis, and polo.

One such sportsman was the President of the Chicago Railway, Albert J. Earling. Mr. Earling would take his personal railcar from downtown Chicago to the newly formed Glen View Club, casually telling the conductor he was “going to golf”. Not soon after, others from Chicago would join Mr. Earling in his trips to “golf” at the Glen View Club and the acreage around the club was forever referred to as Golf, Illinois.

Championship golf followed Mr. Earling to Glen View Club. The club hosted the inaugural Western Amateur in 1899, followed by the U.S. Amateur in 1902 and the U.S. Open in 1904. The Western Golf Association was headquartered in Golf, Ill., from its founding in 1899 until a new headquarters was built in neighboring Glenview in 2020.

From July 27-31, championship golf will return to Glen View Club, the venue for the Western Amateur 122 years after hosting the inaugural event. In 1899 David Forgan defeated Walter Egan 6&5 in the championship match. Since then the Western Amateur has come to be known as (1) the top amateur tournament in the country other than the U.S. Amateur, and (2) perhaps the most grueling tournament in amateur golf.

A Grueling Format

156 players will begin the tournament on Tuesday with the first stroke play round. After the second round on Wednesday, the field will be cut to the low 44 players and ties. Those players will then play two stroke play rounds on Thursday to determine the low 16 players (with a playoff if necessary). Those making the "Sweet Sixteen" will play match play on Friday and Saturday. The champion will have played eight competitive rounds in five days.

A Loaded Field

A rarity in the age where amateurs turn pro as soon as they can after college, the Western Amateur field features its last three champions. Pierceson Coody (Plano, Texas) returns to defend a title he won at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Indiana. Garrett Rank (Canada), a mid-amateur who works as a National Hockey League referee, was the 2019 winner and Coody's fellow Texas Longhorn and Walker Cup star Cole Hammer won the 2018 event before ever stepping on campus in Austin.

Three other members of the victorious 2021 U.S. Walker Cup team -- Ricky Castillo, Stewart Hagestad and William Mouw -- are also in the field.

Winners of summer amateur majors will hope to continue their momentum into the Western Amateur and next month's U.S. Amateur. Among them include winners of the Dogwood (Louis Dobbelaar of Australia), Sunnehanna (Trent Phillips), Northeast (Dylan Menante), North & South (Dobbelaar), Trans-Mississippi (Derek Hitchner), Monroe Invitational (C.J. Easley), and Southern Amateur (Maxwell Moldovan).

More History

The Western Amateur is one of the oldest amateur championships in the United States, having been first contested in 1899. It was originally held at various courses in the Midwest but eventually was held at venues across the western United States including the Pacific Coast. In 1971 the championship was moved to Point O'Woods Golf & Country Club in Benton Harbor, MI, where it would be held annually until 2008. It has since returned to its roots as a rotating venue and is now held at various clubs throughout the Midwest.

Past champions include Chick Evans, Francis Ouimet, Frank Stranahan, Charlie Coe, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf, Lanny Wadkins, Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, Hal Sutton, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard and Tiger Woods, Ryan Moore and Danny Lee.

- Thanks to participant Charles Waddell for his contributions to this article.

ABOUT THE Western Amateur

Invitational event, and the most important tournament in American amateur golf outside of the U.S. Amateur. With a grueling schedule, it's quite possibly the hardest amateur tournament to win.

156 invited players come from across the globe to play one of the toughest formats in amateur golf. The tournament starts with 18 holes of stroke play on Tuesday and Wednesday after which the field is cut to the low 44 scores and ties. Thursday it's a long day of 36 holes of stroke play to determine the “Sweet Sixteen” who compete at Match Play on Friday and Saturday (two matches each day if you're going to the finals) to decide the champion.

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