USGA NEWS
2015: Memorable Stories Resonate December 29, 2015 | Far Hills, N.J. By Ron Driscoll, USGA

Bryson DeChambeau's talents, both on and off the golf course, made him a popular champion, and one of the great stories from the past year. (USGA/Chris Keane)

The 2015 USGA championship season was highlighted by Jordan Spieth’s dramatic U.S. Open victory at Chambers Bay and by the introduction of two Amateur Four-Ball championships. But from the first championship of the year – the inaugural Latin America Amateur in January – through the Mid-Amateur championships that closed the season in early October, we told hundreds of stories, many of which were less about the numbers on the score card, and more about the personal journeys that players took to reach our championships. 

Here are a few of our favorite stories from 2015, in case you missed them:

   

Player from Haiti Makes His Own History

Sometimes a championship experience cannot be measured in strokes taken, or order of finish. Before Gerald Mathias competed in the inaugural Latin America Amateur, the 57-year-old caddie master at Haiti’s only golf course had never flown on a plane, ridden in an elevator or played a par-5 hole in his life. Full Story

(Photo: LAAC)

 

Son Inspires Player in Inaugural Four-Ball

“When I hit a bad shot or a bad putt, I look at it a lot differently than I did 10 or 12 years ago,” said Chris Brooks, of Columbus, Ohio, as he competed in the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball at The Olympic Club. Brooks is inspired every day by his 12-year-old son, David, who has cerebral palsy. Full story

(Photo: USGA/Darren Carroll)

 

Nyhus Extends Record With Daughter by Her Side

Sue Nyhus had her daughter, Kim, on the bag as she competed in the inaugural U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball at Bandon Dunes. Not so unusual, except it happened to be Mother’s Day, Nyhus coaches Kim in college, and the Women’s Four-Ball marked the record eighth female USGA championship that Nyhus has competed in. “I want to introduce her to the USGA life, because I feel so at home here,” said Nyhus. Full story

(Photo: USGA/Steve Gibbons)

 

Suggs Paved Way for Today's Players

Louise Suggs, who died on Aug. 7, 2015, at age 91, dominated women’s golf like few players: she won 11 major championships, third all-time, and she posted the most top-five and top-10 finishes in U.S. Women’s Open history while winning twice, including a record 14-stroke victory over Babe Didrikson Zaharias in 1949. But her glowing record pales in comparison to the pioneering role she played in helping to found the LPGA Tour and keep it afloat. Suggs once said, “We survived and succeeded despite ourselves.” Full story

(Photo: USGA Museum)

 

Amateurs Plentiful at Chambers Bay

Brian Campbell, of Irvine, Calif., certainly made a splash in the U.S. Open. The 22-year-old out of the University of Illinois held a share of the lead with Jordan Spieth early in Round 2, and he finished as the low amateur for the week. Campbell was one of six amateurs to make the 36-hole cut, the most since 1966. Sixteen amateurs were in the starting field, only the second time since 1981 that 16 amateurs qualified. Full story   Photos: Amateurs in the U.S. Open

(Photo: USGA/Fred Vuich)

 

Del Paso Country Club a Model of Efficiency

Superintendent Mark McKinney of the 2015 U.S. Senior Open host site in Sacramento overcame the challenges resulting from California’s extended drought to help produce a world-class championship, while adopting resource management practices that will resonate long after Jeff Maggert sealed his victory in late June. Watch: Sustainability and Efficiency at Del Paso

 

Broncos' Kicker More than a Strong Leg

Brandon McManus of the Denver Broncos has made his mark as an NFL placekicker, but he knows there is more to life than football. That’s why he spent three weeks helping the USGA prepare Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club for the U.S. Women’s Open, and why he cofounded a national anti-bullying campaign. Full story

(Photo: USGA/Fred Vuich)

 

Bryson Brings Home the Havemeyer Trophy

Bryson DeChambeau made the U.S. Amateur a week to remember, trailing for just six holes of the 103 he played over six rounds of match play. “I have a belief in myself that I can get the job done when I need to,” said DeChambeau, 21, who became the fifth player to win the NCAA individual title and the Amateur in the same year. Full story

(Photo: USGA/Chris Keane)

 

Alaska Players Relish National Stage

Audrey Russo, of the Alaska entry in the Women’s State Team Championship, admitted to making an unusual adjustment on her arrival in Cape Girardeau, Mo. “The putt just holds its line,” she marveled of the greens at Dalhousie Golf Club. “You don’t have to guess on the bounces.” Russo and her teammates from The Last Frontier overcame obstacles not faced by many of their counterparts, such as a short season and a dearth of places to play. Full story

(Photo: USGA/Steven Gibbons)

 

Mother, 89, Watches Lutz Win First USGA Title

Chip Lutz’s biggest fan, his 89-year-old mother, Janet, made the two-hour trip from Reading, Pa., to Egg Harbor Township, N.J., to watch him capture the championship match of the U.S. Senior Amateur. “This was something I thought I had to do once in my lifetime,” she said. “I think I picked the right time to do it.” Full story

(Photo: USGA/Chris Keane)

 

Wave of Young Players at Women’s Mid-Amateur

Casey Ward, of Ontario, Canada, was among 12 players in their first year of eligibility to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. Like Ward, many of them played collegiately, but then set their clubs aside as they extended their education or began careers. “When I was reading some of the player bios, I was floored by the careers that they have had,” said Ward, 25. “Amateur golf is so cool, because it’s just playing for the love of the game.” Full story

(Photo: USGA/Matt Sullivan)

 

Welshman Earns Florida Trip Through World Ranking

For the second consecutive year, Ben Westgate, 35, of Wales, had set playing in the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship as a goal. To earn a berth in the field without making an expensive preliminary trip to the States to qualify, Westgate would need to get himself inside the top 400 players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.™  
Full story

(Photo: USGA/Chris Keane)

Ron Driscoll is the manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at rdriscoll@usga.org.