2018 Amateur Championship

In 2018 Royal Aberdeen was honoured to host the 123rd Amateur Championship. The Championship has been held annually in the United Kingdom since 1885, except during the World Wars and in 1949 and 2019, when it was hosted in Ireland.

Before World War Two the Amateur was regarded as one of golf’s major championships. Over the years’ winners have included four members of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Notably Harold Hilton won the championship on four occasions in 1900, 1901, 1911 & 1913. Bobby Jones was victorious in 1930 at St Andrews as part of his historic Grand Slam. More recently Jose Maria Olazabal won at Formby in 1984, beating Colin Montgomerie in the final. Further Spanish success came at Muirfield in 1998, when Sergio Garcia was victor.

Since its inception, the Amateur has visited only 22 venues, with the above selective examples illustrating that these include the very finest golf courses in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club were pleased to congratulate Jovan Rebula on winning the tournament
in 2018, when he beat Robin Dawson (Ireland) 3&2 in the final. Jovan, who is the nephew of Ernie
Els, was the first South African winner of the championship since in Bobby Coles in 1966, and we
are sure that he will go on to emulate some of the great achievements of his compatriots.

The Walker Cup 2011




The Walker Cup - The Cornerstone of the Amateur Game
By David J. Whyte
The Walker Cup has become the hallmark of the amateur game of golf. The biennial event sees the best amateurs from the USA and Great Britain and Ireland play against each other on some of the most worthy golf courses either side of the Atlantic.

The 2011 Walker Cup will be played on the Balgownie Links of Royal Aberdeen Golf Club on the north-east coast of Scotland. Founded in 1780, the club is the world’s sixth oldest and it is honoured to be hosting the Walker Cup on the occasion of the event’s 90th year.

What’s so special about the Walker Cup? The first thing that one gleans from those directly involved is the character-building attributes the event imbues. I’ve met one or two Walker Cup players through my writing career and on learning they were a ‘Walker Cup Player’ for some indiscernible reason they rise significantly in my estimation. The sense of fair play and honour that goes hand in hand with the event is surely one of the finest elements of any sport.

The lack of commercialism might also have something to do with it. Professional events seem swamped with obsequious ‘for profit’ opportunists pitching their tent around the main event and making the most of the shimmering spotlight that shines so seemingly selflessly on the professional game. And that says nothing about the professional players. We won’t even go there.

Meanwhile the Walker Cup remains a breath of free, fresh air.

History of the Walker Cup
The Walker Cup started as a suggestion by the USGA for an International Challenge Trophy to be played for by all golf playing nations. But the R&A were quick to point out to their USGA counterparts that only two countries had sufficient numbers of amateur golfers proficient enough to compete in such an event. On the eve of the Amateur Championship at Hoylake in May 1921, the first unofficial match was played with the young Bobby Jones helping the Americans win a 9-3 victory.

The next year the officially instituted contest was held at National Golf Links of America, a links-style course on Long Island adjacent to another great US course, Shinnecock Hills. The Americans again dominated the scene and set a winning streak that could not be broken until 1938 when Great Britain & Ireland finally succeeded at St Andrews.

The name of the Walker Cup was given in honour of the USGA President George Herbert Walker who was president of the USGA at the time the series was initiated. He was also the grandfather of the former President of the United States, George H. W. Bush and great-grandfather to President George W. Bush.

The event was played annually for only three years at which point it was decided a biennial was preferable. After World War II it switched to odd numbered years and played alternately on either side of the Atlantic.

America dominated the event for most of its early years until 1989 when the GB&I team, with a 12½ - 11½ victory at Peachtree in Georgia restored a sense of balance. Since then there have been GB&I wins at Porthcawl in 1995 and Nairn in 1999, a victory that was effectively defended two years later at Sea Island in Georgia by a convincing 15-9 margin. There was a further win for GB&I at Ganton in 2003. Jonathan Moore lifted his USA team to a one-point win at the 2007 Walker Cup by holing his 4-foot eagle putt on the final hole of his match, a truly dramatic finale held at Royal County Down Golf Club in Northern Ireland.

Tom Watson winning the British Senior Open in 2005

In one of the most exciting Senior Opens Tom Watson (5 times Open Champion) defeated Des Smyth at the first play-off hole to complete his third victory in the championship. Balgownie Links proved to be one of the most severe tests faced by the Senior Professionals in this their flagship event. Tom Watson once again proved to be the master of Scottish traditional links in testing conditions.

An honorary member of Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, at the age of 23 Richard Ramsay became the first Scotsman in over a century to win the US Amateur Championship.

Born in Aberdeen in 1983, it was his grandfather Roderick Robertson who introduced him to golf as a toddler. Richie joined RAGC as a member in 1998.

Richie represented Great Britain & Ireland in the 2005 Walker Cup. The following year he won the U.S. Amateur by beating American John Kelly 4&2 over the 36-hole final becoming the first British player to win the championship since 1911 and the first Scot since 1898. He sealed victory with a birdie at the par-four 16th after which he received exemptions to play in the Open Championship, the Masters and US Open.

The year 2007 was a busy one. Richie played at the Masters in Augusta, Georgia with defending champion Phil Mickleson and then partnered the world No1, Tiger Woods at the US Open at Oakmont. Of that event Richie said, 'I just can't believe I am here at the moment! I'm just a guy from Aberdeen who loves playing golf!' He also graduated from Stirling University in Scotland that year.

Richie won the 2004 Scottish Open Stroke Play and the 2005 Irish Amateur Stroke Play events. He topped the first edition of the World Amateur Golf Ranking, which was issued by the R&A on 23 January 2007. After playing in the 2007 Masters Tournament, U.S. Open and Open Championship Richie Ramsay turned professional making his professional debut at the Russian Open.

During 2008, Richie secured his full European Tour playing privileges for 2009 by finishing 8th on the Challenge Tour.

A portrait of Richie by Stephen Shankland can be seen in the Clubhouse. He is pictured with The Havemeyer Trophy (replica), the only replica resident in the UK . This magnificent trophy can be viewed in the clubhouse.

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