It’s become a pilgrimage of sorts for them. Each September, they duke-it-out in Preliminary Rounds across the country against players that are younger, hungrier, and perhaps most importantly, unknown. Afterall, when you carry a title like former U.S. Amateur Champion, you aren’t sneaking up on anyone on the tournament bracket.
Yet they find a way to get it done. Perhaps it’s because they’re battled-tested or tournament-experienced. Maybe they’re just THAT good. Whatever it is, they dig deep, they find a way to make it back.
Sure, they’ll all tell you they return for different reasons – the experience, the competition, the prestige – but all of those reasons are all one in the same…it’s their homecoming. A chance to relive what was, and a chance to recapture that glory once again.
This year, there are seven of them. Seven who’ve who’ve seen the last ball drop. Seven who’ve felt the weight of the trophy, and the title. Seven former U.S. Amateur Champions.
In the Men’s Division: Raymond Linares, Robert Hall, Henry Brodt (two-time champion) and defending champion Brian Park (three-time winner). In the Women’s Division: Suzanne Smith, Dana Aft and this year’s winner (and two-time champ) Tammie Jones.
Maybe one of them will get it done again this year, maybe not. No matter what though, they managed to do something nearly 2,500 did not – they made it the championship to chase that dream again.