MURRAY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah State Amateur golf tournament is the oldest continuous tournament in the world, and the Utah Golf Association is very proud of that title.
The State Am didn’t shut down during the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918, and it didn’t stop during either World War I or World Wart II. But is its 121-year streak in jeopardy this year with the coronavirus pandemic? Not if Jake Miller, the executive director of the UGA has anything to say about it.
“I refuse to go down as the executive director that allowed us to lose the moniker of the longest continuously held tournament in the world,” MIller said. “So if its the week after Christmas in St. George where we’re running this thing, we’ll do it.”
The UGA has cancelled its golf schedule up thru the start of May. The first State Am qualifier is set for May 18th, so it may be jeopardy, but Miller hopes not.
“As we start to near those times, we’ll start to make decisions on whether to push and/or cancel those events, with the State Am and the Women’s State Am being our top priorities to ensure that they get conducted this summer.” he said.
But the State Am is a complex event. There are 11 qualifiers held at courses around the state, and the tournament itself is contested over 2 courses, with 288 golfers, 2 days of stroke play, before moving to 6 rounds in 4 days of match play.
Miller says that makes rescheduling a tough proposition. “In total its about a 6 week championship and that’s the challenge you’ve seen with other organizations like the USGA cancelling their first 2 days of the season, its not just the event, it’s all the things that lead up to that event with qualifying and setup and preparation.”
The State Am is set this year for Jeremy Ranch and Bonneville. If they weren’t able to hold it there, there’s a good chance they could move it to other courses.
“If you look around the state, the professionals around the state, so many of them played in this event when they were in college or high school and it holds a special place in a lot of golf professional’s hearts,” Miller said. “So we expect that if worst comes to worst and we don’t have some of the opportunities that are set up currently, that there will be plenty of PGA pros and facilities around the state that would be willing to step up and make sure that the Utah State Amateur happens this year. The State Am may not look like it normally looks like in 2020 but we will be playing golf and somebody will hoist the trophy.”