Featured Golf News
World Amateur Team Championships Set to Start
The 23rd annual Women's World Amateur Team Championship will be played October 8-11 at the Grange Golf Club (West and East Courses) in Adelaide, Australia. A week later, the 26th annual World Amateur Team Championship (for men) will be played at Royal Adelaide Golf Club and the West Course at Grange Golf Club. The events are conducted by the International Golf Federation and hosted by Golf Australia.
Conducted by the International Golf Federation (formerly the World Amateur Golf Council), which comprises the national governing bodies of golf in more than 110 countries, the World Amateur Team Championships are a biennial international amateur golf competition rotated among three geographic zones of the world: Asia-Pacific, American and European-African. Golf Australia (www.golfaustralia.org.au), will host the 2008 World Amateur Team Championships. Australia is the first Asia-Pacific zone nation to twice host the championships. The 1968 Championships were held at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Victoria.
Each team, which has two or three players, plays 18 holes of stroke play for four days. In each round, the total of the two lowest scores from each team constitutes the team score for the round. The four-day (72-hole) total is the team's score for the championship.
Players must be citizens of the countries they represent and amateur golfers under the Rules of Amateur Status of either the R&A or the United States Golf Association.
During the Espirito Santo Trophy competition, 18 holes of stroke play will be conducted daily, starting Wednesday, October 8, through Saturday, October 11 at the East and West Courses of The Grange Golf Club. During Eisenhower Trophy competition, 18 holes of stroke play will be conducted daily, starting Thursday, October 16, through Sunday, October 19 at The Royal Adelaide Golf Club and The Grange Golf Club's West Course.
At the close of entries on July 1, more than 125 teams (72 for the Eisenhower Trophy and 54 for the Espirito Santo Trophy) had entered the 2008 championships. The men's championship record was 70 in South Africa in 2006 and the women's championship record was 48 in Puerto Rico in 2004.
The winning team in the women's competition receives the Espirito Santo Trophy for the ensuing two years. The winning team in the men's competition receives custody of the Eisenhower Trophy for the ensuing two years. Members of the winning teams receive gold medals; members of the second-place teams receive silver medals; and members of the third-place teams receive bronze medals. In 2006, 70 men's teams played for the Eisenhower Trophy and 42 women's teams for Espirito Santo Trophy. The lowest individual score in each Championship is recognized at the respective prize-giving ceremony, but no prize is awarded.
2006 Women's Review
South Africa withstood a surge by defending champion Sweden and won the 2006 Women's World Amateur Team Championship on a tiebreaker, becoming the first victorious host nation since 1980.Playing at De Zalze Golf Club, Ashleigh Simon, 17, of Johannesburg, and Kelli Shean, 18, of Cape Town, each shot 2-over-par 74 for their final day total of 148. Teammate Stacy Bregman, 19, of Standton, shot 75.
Sweden, made up a four-stroke deficit to South Africa, even taking the lead for a brief time. They tied the host nation at 10-under-par for a 72-hole total of 566. Their counting scores were a 3-under-par 69 from Caroline Westrup and a 75 from either Anna Nordqvist and Sofie Andersson. Their final round total was 144.
With the initial tie-breaker (final round non-counting score) being equal on 75s from Bregman, and either Nordqvist or Andersson, the procedure moved to the second criteria, the non-counting score from the third round. South Africa's Simon shot 73 in the third round and Sweden's Andersson shot 77. In 2002, Australia won over Thailand using the first criteria, the only other time a tiebreaker was needed.
Shean, who birdied four consecutive holes on the back nine, was the only member of the winning team to have all four of her scores count. In the ebb and flow of the scoring on the second nine holes, her birdie run and two clutch par putts from Simon, on the 16th and 17th holes, were critical. "I don't think anybody was expecting us to win," she said. "But, we proved we could." Sweden was vying to become the first team to win consecutive championships since the USA did in it 1988 and 1990. Sweden is the only country to finish in the top 10 in all 22 championships.
Colombia moved from tied for 11th place into third with a 6-under-par 66 from Carolina Llano, the low round of the day, and a 2-under-par 70 from Eileen Vargas. The Colombians registered a 136, the lowest final-round team total in championship history. France was fourth at 568; Germany and Japan tied for fifth at 569; New Zealand placed seventh at 570; Spain was eighth at 572; the USA ninth at 574; and Chinese Taipei was 10th at 576.
2006 Men's Review
Joost Luiten of the Netherlands played his last five holes in six under par and finished with a 5-under-par 67 as the Dutch captured the Eisenhower Trophy for the first time as the winners of the 2006 World Amateur Team Championship in Stellenbosch, South Africa. With Canada and the Netherlands battling for the top position, 20-year-old Luiten began his run with a birdie on the par-5 14th hole at De Zalze Golf Club. He then holed a sand wedge from 93 yards on the par-4 15th for an eagle and closed with birdies on the 16th, 17th and 18th.
With Luiten's 67 and a 2-under-par 70 from individual low scorer Wil Besseling, the Netherlands won by two strokes over second-place Canada and by three over third-place USA at 22-under-par 554. Their winning total is the lowest since the two counting scores format was instituted in 2002. "His nickname is Pyromaniac and he went on fire," said Dutch coach Chris van der Velde of Luiten, who won the German and French Amateurs in 2004 and the Dutch Stroke Play in 2006. Luiten also won the first stage of European Tour qualifying in 2006 at 22-under-par.
For most of the final nine holes, the champions jockeyed with Canada, which shot 7-under-par 137 on a 68 from Richard Scott and a 69 from James Love. "We didn't lose it," said Canada's captain Doug Roxburgh. "The Netherlands won it. They made the birdies coming home." Trip Kuehne was 5-under-par on his second nine and finished at 3-under 69 to go along with a 69 from Chris Kirk to move the USA into the bronze medal slot.
The previous best finish for the Netherlands was a tie for eighth place in 1992 and 1994. The host South Africans finished tied for 22nd. The rest of the top 10 included: Wales in 4th at 559, Korea in 5th at 561, England, Scotland and Argentina tied for 6th at 563, and France and Ireland tied for 9th at 564.
History of the World Amateur Team Championship
The idea of a World Amateur Team Championship and the World Amateur Golf Council grew out of a suggestion that the USGA received to consider the possibility of a team match between the USA and Japan in 1957. The USGA, which was fortunate to have received many such invitations from other countries, simply could not accept them all.
The USGA instead suggested a team competition that would bring together the best players of all countries, accommodating all possible interests. In January 1958, the USGA Executive Committee approved in principal a plan for such a championship. That March, a group of USGA representatives, including USGA President John D. Ames, met with officials of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club to discuss the plan. St. Andrews was proposed as the scene of the first Championship later that year. The R&A joined in implementing the idea. In May, representatives of the national amateur golf associations of 35 countries attended a planning conference in Washington, D.C., and formed the World Amateur Golf Council. The council had 32 member organizations, and planned the first Championship.
USA President Dwight D. Eisenhower received the delegates in the Rose Garden of the White House and consented to the naming of the championship prize as the Eisenhower Trophy. Eisenhower endorsed the concept, saying, "Both officially and personally, I am interested in the plan advanced by the USGA for an amateur team golf championship among nations. I visualize it, as you do, as a potent force for establishing goodwill and friendship between yet another segment of the populations of nations."
The championship received yet another stroke of good luck when Bob Jones agreed to be captain of the first USA team. Jones had taken the first leg of his 1930 Grand Slam at St. Andrews by winning the British Amateur, but 22 years had passed since he had last visited there.
The first championship was played on the Old Course of St. Andrews in October, 1958, and 115 players, representing 29 countries, played. Australia won in a playoff with the USA. The lowest individual scores for the 72 holes were 301s by William Hyndman III of the USA, Bruce Devlin of Australia, and Reid Jack of Great Britain & Ireland.
Jack Nicklaus, who represented the USA in 1960 at Merion Golf Club (East Course), in Ardmore, Pa., holds the 72-hole individual scoring record of 269, although individual champions are not recognized.
The United States of America has prevailed in 13 of the 24 competitions and Great Britain & Ireland has won four times, while countries as diverse in the world of golf as Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Sweden have each captured the Eisenhower Trophy.
The World Amateur Team Championship has now been conducted in 22 different nations. In 2003, the name of the organization was changed from the World Amateur Golf Council to the International Golf Federation.
The 2008 World Amateur Team Championship in Australia marks the 50th anniversary of the first competition at the Old Course, St. Andrews in Scotland. That year, Australia's team of Douglas Bachli, Bruce Devlin, Peter Toogood and playing captain Robert Stevens won by two strokes in a playoff with the USA team of Charles Coe, William Hyndman III, Billy Joe Patton and Frank Taylor. The American team was captained by Bob Jones. Twenty-nine teams competed.
History of the Women's World Amateur Team Championship
What began as a proposal for a match in 1964 between the USA and France grew into the Women's World Amateur Team Championship. The impetus for this championship was an invitation by the French Golf Federation for the USA Curtis Cup team to stop off in France for an informal match after that year's Curtis Cup Match in Wales. The USGA accepted the invitation, but also suggested inviting other nations to create a women's counterpart to the World Amateur Team Championship. That event for men's teams began in 1958 after an invitation from Japan to establish a match between the two nations.
The French were delighted to sponsor the inaugural women's Championship and arranged for it to be played at the St. Germain Golf Club, near Paris, in October, 1964. The event, under the chairmanship of Vicomtesse de Saint-Sauveur, was a triumph. A total of 25 teams and 75 players participated, which instantly established the competition as a member of international golf's family of championships. Spectator enthusiasm at the first championship was keen, since the host team prevailed over the USA by one stroke.
The French player Catherine Lacoste, who would later become a heroine of the amateur game when she won the 1967 U.S. Women's Open, was a big factor in the excitement in her home country. Her final-round 73 secured the Espirito Santo Trophy. Miss Lacoste tied with Carol Sorenson of the USA at 294 for low individual honors.
Jenny Chuasiriporn of the USA lowered the 72-hole individual scoring record in 1998. She shot 276 at Prince of Wales Country Club in Santiago, Chile, two shots better than the score returned by countrywoman Wendy Ward four years earlier at The National Golf Club in Versailles, France.
In 1966, the World Amateur Golf Council assumed the role of conducting future Women's World Amateur Team Championships. Since its second-place finish in the inaugural, the USA has dominated, winning 13 times. Spain (1986, 1992) and France (1964, 2000) are the only other multiple victors.
The 2010 Championships will be played in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at Olivos Golf Club and Buenos Aires Golf Club and hosted by the Argentine Golf ssociation. In October 2008, the site of the 2012 World Amateur Team Championships, from the Europe-Africa zone, will be decided.