The player who shoots the lowest aggregate score in the Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship will be called a champion for the first time in approximately two decades.
A new World Am gross division has been created for the 31st World Am in 2014 and likely beyond. The World Am has typically been a net tournament that factors handicaps into the crowning of a champion.
So the World Am will have both net and gross winners this year.
“That is just another way to hopefully grow the event, even if it’s by 100 people,” said Jeff Monday, tournaments director for marketing cooperative Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, which operates the event. “A lot of low handicap players stray away from handicap events. They don’t want to go up against someone who is getting a couple shots on them.”
Golf Holiday president Bill Golden said a gross division was attempted approximately 20 years ago but it wasn’t considered successful and was quickly scrapped. “It never grew,” Golden said, “and I don’t know that we supported it in the ways that we should have back then. It wasn’t a huge priority because it’s a net event.”
Golf Holiday partnered with amateurgolf.com to provide logoed Jones’ golf bags last year to the low gross winners in five divisions – men ages 49 and younger, men 50-59, men 60-69, men 79 and older and women – who were also invited to play an extra round at the Dye Club during the net championship round.
“It was a good start to get some interest in it,” Monday said. “But we feel we can fill a flight or two with people who just want to play in a scratch division.”
Golf Holiday will begin accepting entries for the Aug. 25-29 World Am on March 25. Approximately 3,300 players participated in the 30th World Am last year on more than 50 Grand Strand courses.
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.