It's true that there are a ton of U.S. Amateur champions that will never sniff a PGA Tour win. That's just the nature of the beast. Just like great college players, it takes a special talent, and a lot of good fortune, to find yourself with the highest professionals on the planet, but in that same breath, there are plenty major championship winners that weren't able to tackle the U.S. Am, going on this week at Erin Hills in Wisconsin.
And even though the title suggests "amateur," this event is far from that. It's the toughest golf tournament in the world to win, and it has been for years.
How is that possible, with no professionals in the field? Simple, it combines the two most popular formats in golf over a seven day periods that forces golfers to play two great rounds of stroke play only to be pitted against the same guys in match play for a chance to meet in the finals, that is a grueling 36-hole match against your opponent. On top of all that, you're playing a golf course this week stretched well over 7,800 yards, and you're playing against a field of over 300 of the best amateurs in the world, and there is more at stake than just money.
Why is the amateur tougher than, say, the USGA's prize jewel, the U.S. Open? Because with the amateur, you are not allowed a bad round. You have to play great golf for two days just to get into match play, and we all know when you're playing 18 holes against an opponent of this caliber, a bad day means you are checking flight times. On top of all that, you're playing for a chance to get in the Masters, the U.S. Open and the British, meaning the trophy isn't the only thing you get to show your friends.
Most professional events are four days long, so to be out on a golf course, competing for seven days is tough stuff, and it makes for great drama and entertainment. Also, in case you haven't noticed, a lot of these amateurs are playing just as good golf as the professionals, if not better now, and the confidence the youngsters are showing gives you every indication that we are heading towards another amateur champion on the PGA Tour.
Don't shrug your shoulders at the U.S. Amateur. It's the toughest tournament in golf to win, and it's golf drama at its best.