1981, the USGA inaugurated its first new championship in 19 years,
the U.S. Mid-Amateur. The Mid-Amateur, for amateur golfers of at
least 25 years of age, provides a formal national championship for
the post-college amateur, for whom the game is truly an avocation.
the arrival of the Mid-Amateur, the post-college player could compete
in the Amateur Championship, sometimes successfully, but these older
amateurs faced greater odds. While they fit their golf around their
work and families, they were most often competing against college
golfers, for whom the game is close to a full-time activity.
about 40 percent of those who qualify for the U.S. Amateur Championship
each year are at least 25, although several have been quite successful.
For example, Bob Lewis Jr., then 41, reached the Amateur final in
1980, and the semifinals in 1981 and 1986. Jay Sigel won consecutive
Amateur titles in 1982 and 1983 (at ages 37 and 38, respectively),
then added the Mid-Amateur title in 1983, 1985, and 1987. In 1986,
Buddy Alexander, 33, a reinstated amateur, won the U.S. Amateur.
And in 1993, 41-year-old John Harris won the Amateur.
general, however, most post-college amateurs found themselves at
a disadvantage competing against college golfers. Thus, the Mid-Amateur
Championship was born.
at the Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, the first Mid-Amateur
drew 1,638 entries in 1981. The field included three former Amateur
Champions: Gary Cowan (1966, 1971), Marvin Giles III (1972), and
Fred Ridley (1975). Jim Holtgrieve, 33, of Des Peres, Mo., defeated
fellow Walker Cupper Bob Lewis Jr., 37, of Warren, Ohio, in the
final, 2 up.
1983, Jay Sigel, 39, of Berwyn, Pa., became the first golfer in
53 years to win two USGA Championships in the same year when he
added the Mid-Amateur Championship to the U.S. Amateur Championship
he had won just 32 days earlier.
became the Mid-Amateur's first two-time winner when he again captured
the championship in 1985. Sigel won his third Mid-Amateur in 1987.
Combined with his two U.S. Amateur titles (1982, 1983) Sigel had
won a total of five USGA championships. Only Bob Jones, who won
nine; JoAnne Carner and Jack Nicklaus, eight; and Glenna Collett
Vare, Hollis Stacy and Tiger Woods, with six; have won more USGA
1985's first qualifying round, Don Bliss of St. Louis, made holes-in-one
on the eighth and tenth holes at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas,
Texas. Bliss became the only player to score two holes-in-one in
one round of a USGA championship.
Stuart of Macon, Ga., became the first player to win two consecutive
Mid-Amateur Championships when he won in 1990 and 1991.
U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship has continued to grow in popularity
and in 1989 topped 3,000 entries for the first time.
its short history, the championship's unique age qualification has
inspired similar tournaments throughout the country and there are
now Mid-Amateur events in nearly every state.
2001, the final match, for the first time in the history of the
championship, was expanded from 18 to 36 holes.