The North & South Amateur Golf Championships
I am getting ready to play in one of the oldest amateur golf tournaments in the United States North & South Amateur. The inaugural North & South Amateur began on April 1, 1901, on Pinehurst No. 1. The North & South Women’s Amateur began in 1903. It was first played on Pinehurst No. 1 as well but also included Pinehurst No. 3. The North & South is now contested on the famed Pinehurst No. 2 course, which plays 7,000-plus yards for the Men and 6,000-plus yards for the Women. The North & South Amateurs are two of the longest-consecutive running championships in the country. I am SO excited to play in it!
Its name was created to foster good relations between geographic regions that only a generation earlier had battled one another in the Civil War. The mission over the years has been simple, according to Richard Tufts of Pinehurst’s founding family: “To provide an annual gathering of those who love the game, rather than a spectacle.”
So it’s pretty cool to play in a tournament that has been played for SO long! While the Men’s and Women’s have already been played last month this week is the Senior version of the tournament. So even though I will be playing against those over 50 it’s fun to think that I will be playing with some of the best 50+ amateurs in the country (I am trying not to think of it too much!)
Playing # 2 in the North and South
What draws many players to Pinehurst are the challenges of playing Pinehurst No. 2. I know every time I walk the fairways and put on the greens, I think of all the great players that have graced the course. As former champion Davis Love III recalls, “I think the North & South Amateur Golf Championship was the crowning achievement of my amateur career. I was not considered a great amateur player or an all-star college player; I was just a very good player. Winning the North & South, I think, capped off my amateur career. And when I look back, that’s my U.S. Amateur; that was the big tournament that I won. I’m still thrilled to have won any golf tournament on Pinehurst No. 2.”
There are SO many amateurs even older ones like me that LOVE the thrill of competition. Add the experience you get out of playing with the best amateurs from all across the globe, and a historic setting such as Pinehurst No. 2, and you have the essence of competition in championship form. I am so excited for this opportunity!
Who has played in the North and South?
I was reading over all of the players that have won the North and South since its inception. Check out this list of tour stars, like Jack Nicklaus, Curtis Strange, Davis Love III, Corey Pavin, Babe Didrikson, Louise Suggs, Donna Andrews (my instructor!!), and Morgan Pressel. As a past champion and PGA Tour, veteran Curtis Strange says, “It is a tournament that you will always remember whether you turn professional or if you stay an amateur. You will always want to return and play in the North & South. It’s just something you’ll cherish forever. I know we, as PGA Professionals do. We wish, as pros, we could return! If you happen to play well, it’s an added bonus. It’s a wonderful tournament a prestigious tournament. And when you win a tournament like that, it’s something special.”
This year’s men’s winner
Tyler Strafaci etched his name into history as Tyler’s victory makes for the first grandfather-grandson pairing to ever win the North & South. Frank Strafaci won the North & South twice, in 1938 and 1939. How is that for a piece of history?
So if you want to catch the tail end of the North and South Amateur, come out this Monday through Wednesday to Pinehurst Country Club to watch us old guys and gals play…or put on your calendar next year in July to come out and watch the top men and women’s amateurs in the country.
I have been told that the North & South Amateur Championship will put me through a complete test of skill. By the end of the championship, I and all of the other competitors will know that we have had to hit every shot. It’s just you, the golf course, and the guys (or gals) you’re playing with. It is golf in its purest form. And it truly is a piece of golf history! I can’t wait!
If you have any questions please let me know, Jamie