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What's in a name? Top 5 tourneys named after fascinating people
28 Mar 2022
by Chris Brauner of AmateurGolf.com

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We've all heard the names: the Jones Cup, the George C. Thomas Invitational, the Walker Cup, the Curtis Cup, the Crump Cup, the Porter Cup, and so many more. Tournaments have been named after many people for many different reasons.

Sometimes a tournament is named after the person who originally donated the trophy; other times it is an influential past pro, president, founder, or member of the host club. Some of the people so honored are well-known, others obscure. Some have receded into history, but others have fascinating, and in some cases tragic, backstories.

Here are our top 5 amateur golf tournaments named after fascinating people, followed by a rundown of some of the most recognizable tournaments and the people after whom they were named. If you've ever wondered how a tournament got its name, read on.

THE MORRISON CUP
Pauma Valley Country Club, Pauma Valley, California


Marion Morrison (a.k.a., see below)
The Morrison Cup is one of the newest tournaments to attain major status on the senior amateur calendar. First played in 2017, it is a 54-hole stroke play tournament for Seniors, Super Seniors, and Legends.

The tournament honors Marion Morrison, on whose ranch the Pauma Valley golf course was built in 1961.

So who was Marion Morrison? Here are some clues.

He was once on a football scholarship at the University of Southern California but lost it as a result of a bodysurfing accident. His athletic career over, he turned to the movie industry and would become one of Hollywood's biggest stars, appearing in 142 motion pictures and eventually being named one of the greatest male stars of classic American cinema by the American Film Institute.

He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1969 for the movie True Grit, and became an American icon through his portrayals of war heroes and Old West figures.

If the name still doesn't ring a bell, maybe you'll recognize his nickname, the Duke.

But wait, wasn't that John Wayne? Indeed it was. John Wayne was the stage name of one Marion Morrison.

More information about the Morrison Cup

THE MARION MILEY MEMORIAL GOLF TOURNAMENT
Lexington Country Club, Lexington, Kentucky


Marion Miley (Lexington CC photo)
This 36-hole stroke play tournament for women amateurs and juniors has been played at Lexington Country Club for more than 75 years.

The tournament honors one of the great women amateur golfers of her time who, just days after playing in the 1941 U.S. Women’s Amateur, was murdered at Lexington Country Club, her life tragically cut short at the age of 27.

Marion Miley won her first Kentucky Women's Amateur at the age of 17, and after enrolling in the Florida State College For Women to study music and physical education, she dropped out to focus on her golf. She returned to Lexington where she got a job inspecting gas stations and advertising for Standard Oil.

Her golf game took off and she soon found success in amateur golf tournaments across the country. She ascended to No. 1 in the women's rankings and represented the U.S. in three straight Curtis Cup Matches. She won 22 major amateur golf tournaments and was described by one reporter as the "most photographed golfer in the world".

But on a fateful night in the fall of 1941, she was killed in an altercation with three gunmen who, while robbing the club, killed Marion and mortally wounded her mother, who was able to provide police with details that would allow them to identify the gunmen before she would pass away three days later.

Not long after the three men were executed for the two murders, the Lexington Country Club created the Marion Miley Memorial Golf Tournament in her memory.

More information about the Marion Miley Memorial Golf Tournament

THE WALKER CUP MATCH
Next held at St. Andrews Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland


George Herbert Walker
The famed international team competition between the United States and Great Britain & Ireland was first played in 1922, two years after USGA president George Herbert Walker was a part of an Executive Committee that traveled to Scotland to meet with the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews Rules Committee. Upon its return home, the USGA Executive Committee discussed the idea of international team matches, and Walker was so enthusiastic about the idea that he helped formulate a plan and offered to donate a trophy.

When the press referred to the trophy as the "Walker Cup", the name stuck. As much a goodwill event as a golf competition, the U.S. has dominated the matches, although in the past 30 years it has been far more evenly matched. Still, the U.S. has won the last three, including its most recent triumph in 2021 at Seminole Golf Club, and will look to make it four in a row at the Old Course in St. Andrews in 2023.

Walker was an avid golfer long before ascending to the USGA's top position, but he achieved greater success in a far different sport, becoming the amateur boxing heavyweight champion of Missouri while studying at Washington University in St. Louis. He would also be instrumental in rebuilding the famed sports venue Madison Square Garden as well as the Belmont (Horse) Race Track.

He enjoyed a long career in banking and investing, starting with the creation of G.H. Walker & Co. in 1900.

His love for golf, and his name, were passed down through the generations of his descendants, with two golf-loving U.S. presidents bearing his name: George H.W. (Herbert Walker) Bush, and George W. (Walker) Bush. His political views didn't get passed down, however; while the 41st and 43rd presidents of the United States were both Republicans, George Herbert Walker was famously a Democrat.

More information about the Walker Cup

THE JOANNE WINTER ARIZONA SILVER BELLE CHAMPIONSHIP
Briarwood Country Club, Sun City West, Arizona


Joanne Winter (AAGPBL photo)
In the time before Title IX and the creation of junior golf organizations like the AJGA and the Junior Golf Association of Arizona, Joanne Winter dreamed of providing an event where junior and college girls could play together. And so the Arizona Silver Belle Championship was born. First played in 1971, the Silver Belle has fulfilled Winter's vision, as the 54-hole stroke play championship for players ages 13-23 has produced champions who have gone on to success on the LPGA Tour, including major champ Yani Tseng.

Joanne Winter was an amazing multi-sport athlete, and is a member of both the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame and the National Women’s Baseball Hall of Fame. At the age of 15 she dropped out of school to play softball, and later moved to Phoenix to play in the National Women's Softball League for the Arizona Ramblers.

But it was in the All American Girls Professional Baseball league (AAGPBL) where Winter starred as a pitcher, winning 133 games for the Racine Belles, ranking third all-time in the AAGPBL. If the team and the league sound familiar, it is probably because of the 1992 movie A League of Their Own, starring Tom Hanks and Geena Davis, which chronicled the league and for which Winter served as a consultant.

After her baseball career, Winter turned to golf and won the Arizona State Women's Golf championship four times. She played in 28 LPGA Tour events before her golf career ended with injury sustained in a car accident.

But she enjoyed a thirty-year career as a golf instructor, and mentored many of Arizona's best junior and college players. She was the women's golf coach at Scottsdale Community College and Arizona State University and got to witness over 25 years of the tournament that bears her name before her passing in 1996.

More information about the Joanne Winter Arizona Silver Belle Championship

THE CRUMP CUP
Pine Valley Golf Club, Pine Valley, New Jersey


George A. Crump (GAP photo)
The George A. Crump Memorial Tournament, more familiarly known as the Crump Cup, is arguably the top mid-amateur golf tournament in the United States, and the mysteries of the course, the club and the tournament remain elusive for most. Unless one receives an invitation to play (asking for one is not a good idea), the only way to get a glimpse of the host course Pine Valley is on Crump Cup Sunday, when the club opens its doors to the public for the afternoon final matches.

Equally mysterious is the man after whom the tournament is named. George A. Crump, an important figure in the hotel business, was a golf enthusiast and joined numerous golf clubs in the Philadelphia area. He became a good player, winning the Patterson Cup in 1901 and several club championships.

But Crump had a bigger dream: to find a property suitable for building a golf course that would rival any that existed in America at the time. There are many legends about how Crump found the site on which the course now sits, but the most popular are that he saw the sandy, rolling pine barrens from a train ride to Atlantic City, and that he knew of the site from hunting trips he took as a boy. But once he located it, he purchased 184 acres from the landowner, took up residence at the site, and began formulating plans for the golf course.

The stories of the construction are also legendary: 22000+ trees uprooted, a variety of delays and setbacks, the addition of renowned course designer Harry Colt, the visits by a host of other famous course designers and players. The result is a golf course that has topped the world rankings for many years and remains one of the true wonders of golf architecture.

But Crump himself would not live to see opening day, and the cause of his death in 1918 on the property of Pine Valley has been a subject of controversy. For decades it was generally believed that he died from an infected tooth, but a coroner's report unearthed many years later listed the cause of death as suicide.

The George A. Crump Memorial Tournament was started in 1922 to honor the man whose vision was ultimately realized. 100 years later, the legend of Pine Valley and the man responsible for its creation is larger than ever.

More information about the Crump Cup

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Ever wonder how a tournament is named? Here are some of the Majors of Amateur Golf and their namesakes:

Jones Cup Invitational, Ocean Forest Golf Club, Sea Island, Ga.
A.W. Jones and his family founded both the Cloister (the Mediterranean-style hotel) and Sea Island Golf Club in 1928.

Moot Thomas Invitational, Ocala Golf Club, Ocala, Fla.
Moot Thomas learned the game at Ocala Golf Club, and competitive amateur golf was a lifetime pursuit. He won many tournaments as an amateur and a senior, and shot his age 9 times in the final year of his life.

George Coleman Invitational, Seminole Golf Club, Juno Beach, Fla.
George L. Coleman was the president of Seminole Golf Club and one of Ben Hogan's closest friends, hosting him each year at Seminole as he prepared for the Masters. Coleman won the Oklahoma State Amateur in 1946 and was also an avid boat racer, setting several hydroplane speed records.

SOS John Kline Super Senior, Barnsley Gardens Resort, Adairsville, Ga.
John Kline was a major general in the United States Air Force and was played competitive amateur golf into his 90s. A member of the Senior Amateur Hall of Fame, he won 29 tournaments, was runner-up in another 40, had 11 holes-in-one and first shot his age at 66.

Brabazon Trophy (English Open Amateur), Saunton Golf Club, N. Devon, England
In 1948 the current trophy was donated by Derek Moore-Brabazon, 2nd Baron Brabazon of Tara. "Baron Brabazon of Tara", of Sandwich in the County of Kent, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, and was created for Derek's father, the aviation pioneer and Conservative politician John Moore-Brabazon.

Queen Sirikit Cup, Laguna National Golf & Country Club, Singapore
Also known as the Amateur Ladies Asia-Pacific Invitational Team Championship, this was the first major international women's tournament in the region. The inaugural championship was held in Thailand in 1979, and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand granted Her permission to have the trophy named after Her as the “Queen Sirikit Cup”.

John T. Lupton Memorial, The Honors Course, Ooltewah, Tenn.
John T. Lupton II, who sat on the Board of Directors of Coca-Cola and was Chairman of the Arnold Palmer Golf Company, helped found The Honors Course.

The Devlin, Secession Golf Club, Beaufort, S.C.
Bruce Devlin won the Australian Amateur and went on to win eight PGA Tour titles. He has designed over 150 golf courses around the world, and enjoyed a long career as a golf television broadcaster. He is one of only 4 players ever to make a double eagle at the Masters.

Curtis Cup, next played at Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pa.
The top international match in women's amateur golf is named after a pair of sisters who donated the trophy and who each won the U.S. Women's Amateur: Harriot Curtis (winner 1906) and Margaret (winner in 1907, 1911, and 1912). On the trophy it is inscribed "To stimulate friendly rivalry among the women golfers of many lands."

George C. Thomas Invitational, Los Angeles Country Club, Los Angeles, Calif.
The tournament was created in 2012 to honor the architect of LACC's two courses, George C. Thomas, Jr. Other courses designed by Thomas include Riviera, Bel-Air, Ojai, and Stanford. He served in the Army Air Service during World War I, attaining the rank of captain. "The Captain" remained his nickname for the rest of his life.

Charlie Coe Invitational, Castle Pines Golf Club, Castle Rock, Colo.
Charlie Coe was one of the all-time great amateur golfers, winning the U.S. Amateur twice and setting just about every amateur Masters record there is. In 19 Masters appearances, his records include most rounds played (67), best finish (runner-up to Gary Player in 1961), lowest 72-hole score (281), most top-10 finishes (3), most top-25 finishes (9), most cuts made (15), most times low amateur (6), and lowest third-round score (67).

Porter Cup, Niagara Falls Country Club, Lewiston, N.Y.
Alex L. Porter was the Niagara Falls CC president when the Porter Cup was started in 1959 and donated the tall silver trophy.

SOS Jack Hesler Tournament, Belterra Golf Club, Florence, Ind.
Jack Hesler, who played his college golf at Purdue University, won the Indiana State Amateur Championship in 1952 and the Ohio Amateur Championship in 1974. He won numerous senior championships, including four Ohio Senior Amateurs.

Picard Cup, Canterbury Golf Club, Cleveland, Ohio
Henry Picard was the head professional at Canterbury for 25 years. One of the best golfers in the world in the 1930’s, Picard won 26 times in his PGA Tour career including the 1938 Masters and the 1939 PGA Championship.

Dave King Senior Invitational, Evergreen Country Club, Haymarket, Va.
Dave King won over 100 amateur golf tournaments, including 13 titles in Virginia State Golf Association, Maryland State Golf Association and Washington Metropolitan Golf Association events. He started over 40 national senior events, and established and endowed the Dave King Scholarship, which has provided 19 students with financial support for college.

W.E. Cole Cotton States Invitational, Bayou DeSiard Country Club, Monroe, La.
W. E. "Winnie" Cole was the young professional at Bayou DeSiard who changed the name of this tournament from the Bayou DeSiard Labor Day Golf Tournament to the Cotton States. 27 years later the club would rename the tournament in his honor.

Anderson Memorial Four-Ball, Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, N.Y.
John G. Anderson was only 49 years old when he passed away in 1933. He had won 53 amateur golf tournaments and had twice reached the final of the U.S. Amateur. He was one of the founders of Winged Foot Golf Club, and the tournament named in his memory was started only two months after he passed.

Walter Travis Invitational, Garden City Golf Club, Garden City, N.Y.
The Australian-born Walter Travis didn't start playing golf until the age of 35, but went on to win three U.S. Amateurs and became the first U.S. citizen to win the British Amateur. Travis won four straight North & South Amateurs from 1910-1913. He was a prolific writer and golf course architect, designing nearly 50 golf courses and extensively remodeling the course at Garden City Golf Club.

John R. Williams Four-Ball Invitational, Oak Hill Country Club, Rochester, N.Y.
John Ralston Williams was the first physician in the country to use insulin in the treatment of diabetes. He was also a member of Oak Hill and was retained by the club to plant trees across the two Donald Ross designs. Williams reached out to arborists around the world for help, and when asked how many trees he planted on the property, Williams said, "I stopped counting at 40,000."

Stocker Cup Invitational, The Preserve Golf Club, Carmel, Calif.
The Stocker Cup Invitational is played in memory of Peter C. Stocker, who died in a tragic helicopter accident at Rancho San Carlos near the Carmel Valley in 1990. Stocker was a real estate developer who was one of the partners behind the creation of the Santa Lucia Preserve where the golf course now sits, and was called "the quintessential amateur golfer" by former USGA president Sandy Tatum.

SOS Dale Morey Championship, Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, Southern Pines, N.C.
Dale Morey was a multi-sport athlete who was inducted into seven Halls of Fame. He was a professional basketball player after playing college ball at LSU, and as an amateur golfer he is credited with 261 tournament wins. He played on two Walker Cup teams for the U.S., and is one of the few players to win both the U.S. and British senior amateur titles.

Dennis Ewing Cup, Dallas Athletic Club, Mesquite, Tex.
Dennis Ewing was the head professional at the Dallas Athletic Club for 33 years, retiring after the club hosted the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 1997.

Society of Seniors Ralph Bogart Tournament, North Palm Beach Country Club, North Palm Beach, Fla.
Ralph Bogart won more than 80 amateur golf tournaments, including ten Maryland State Amateur championships, and was inducted into the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame and the Middle Atlantic Golf Association Hall of Fame. He was president and co-founder of the Society of Seniors, the organization for elite senior amateur golfers in the U.S. who conducts the tournament in his honor.


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