For the first time in 41 years, the Western Amateur Golf Tournament will be played this summer somewhere besides Illinois or Michigan. The prestigious Alotian Club in Roland (outside of Little Rock) will host the Western Amateur July 29-Aug. 4.
Founded in 1899, the tournament is often referred to as the "Masters of amateur golf." Many of the great names in golf have won the Western Amateur, and many more have competed in the championship, but were unable to conquer the grueling test that is the Western Amateur.
Grounds badges for the tournament are $100 each and may be purchased online at thewesternamateur.com. A badge gives a patron access to The Alotian Club grounds for the dates of the tournament and is transferable. All sales are final. A limited number of badges will be sold for the 2013 event.
Jon Zieske, director of golf at The Alotian Club, said 156 invited players will come from across the globe to play one of the toughest formats in amateur golf.
"After the first two days, and 36 holes, the field will be cut to the low 44 scores and ties. The following day, those lucky enough to make the cut will play 36 more holes in hopes of making The Sweet Sixteen" Zieske said. "That group of 16 will then compete in a match play format to decide the champion."
The Western Amateur’s Sweet Sixteen has turned out to be quite an elite group in the golf world. Over the years, Sweet Sixteen members have won all of the following: 29 of the last 35 PGA Tour Player of the Year Awards 12 of the top 20 on the PGA Tour career money list 28 major championship winners for a total of 73 major championships 13 events on the 2010 PGA Tour schedule 7 participants in the 2010 Ryder Cup 15 of the last 19 U.S. Amateur Champions
Past winners of the George R. Thorne championship trophy include Jack Nicklaus, Steve Melnyk, Ben Crenshaw, Justin Leonard, Phil Mickelson, Hal Sutton, Francis Ouimet and Tiger Woods.
Organized by the Western Golf Association, the tournament benefits the Evans Scholars Foundation’s "caddies-to-college" scholarship program. Three former caddies from The Alotian Club – brothers Joe, Kevin and Tim Evans – are scholarship recipients. Since 1930 the Evans Foundation has paid full tuition and housing costs for some 9,600 college students. Currently, 835 scholarship-receiving caddies are in college.