The US Amateur golf championship is the pinnacle of amateur golf in the United States and, indeed, around the world, as it is the most-coveted amateur golf title. Earning the US Amateur title and the Havemeyer Trophy (named after the first USGA president) means getting through an incredible gauntlet, going from stroke-play qualifying down to a match-play bracket of 64 and six matches with seven rounds of golf to win the title.
US Amateur format
The US Amateur format is grueling. The tournament starts with a 312-player field, double the typical full field on the PGA Tour. Those 312 players compete over two days on two separate courses (Longue Vue Club and host Oakmont Country Club this year), playing 36 total holes of stroke play. At the end of those two rounds, the top 64 players on the leaderboard advance into match play. Any ties that would allow more than 64 players in the bracket are settled with a sudden-death playoff until the 64-player bracket is filled.
After the Monday-Tuesday madness of stroke play, the 64-player field is then set to start the match play portion of the championship. Players are seeded based on where the finished on the leaderboard followed by a match of cards to determine seeds among players tied after stroke-play qualifying. Just like in any tournament, the No. 1 ranked player -- or the medalist in stroke play -- takes on the No. 64 player in one end of the bracket. On the other end, the No. 2 ranked player takes on No. 63. This continues on Wednesday in Round 1 matches to bring the field down to 32 players.
On Thursday, they play down from 32 to 16 in the morning, then 16 to eight in the afternoon. On Friday, they play down from eight to four. On Saturday, they play down from four to two in the afternoon. These are all 18-hole matches, with ties going to sudden-death until a winner is determined.
The final match is a 36-hole affair on Sunday, with a morning 18 holes, followed by lunch and an afternoon round until the match is decided. It does not have to go 36 holes.
At that point, we have a US Amateur champion and they get the Havemeyer Trophy for a year.