U.S. Junior Amateur Championship

The Olympic Club, San Francisco, Calif.

Yardage: 6,790 yards

Par: 35-35 - 70

Defending champion: Brian Harman

Opened: 1918 (club was founded in 1860)

Designer: Sam Whiting (Robert Trent Jones Sr. did some revisions prior to 1955 U.S. Open)

 

USGA championships: This will be the eighth held at Olympic, following four U.S. Opens (1955, '66, '87 and '98), two U.S. Amateurs (1958 and '81) and one America 's Cup (1958).

 

Famous members: "Gentlemen" Jim Corbett (1892 heavyweight boxing champion); Billy Johnston (1923 Wimbledon champion); Ken Venturi (1964 U.S. Open champion); Mark Twain (novelist); Ty Cobb (baseball); Joe DiMaggio (baseball).

 

Tough to repeat: Brian Harman is bidding to become only the second repeat champion of this event (Tiger Woods won three consecutive titles from 1991-93). Meanwhile, Jordan Cox is hoping to join an elite fraternity of players who have lost in the final and come back the next year to win it. Mason Rudolph (1950) and Tim Straub (1983) are the only players to achieve the feat.

 

California dreaming: Californians have captured 21 of the 56 Junior Amateurs, the highest number champions from any other state.

 

Behind the name: The Olympic Club doesn't have golf or country in its title because when the club was founded, golf wasn't a key component. The Nahl brothers ( Charles and Arthur ) turned their backyard into a gym in the 1850s and it was the forerunner to the actual club. The club champions itself as an all-around athletic club and during the early part of the 20th century, many Olympic members participated in the Olympic Games. In 1924, the club sent more participants (24) to the Paris Games than any other club in the country.

 

Football anyone?: Prior to World War II, the Olympic Club had a football team that often competed against Bay Area colleges, including Stanford, California-Berkeley, Santa Clara and St. Mary's. The club dropped football when intercollegiate teams began forming conference affiliations and no longer needed to play area clubs for top competition.

 

Tennis anyone?: Olympic was the first West Coast site to host the Davis Cup (1937).

 

A magical year: In 1964, three Olympic Club members held USGA titles - Johnny Miller (U.S. Junior), Ken Venturi (U.S. Open) and Bill Higgins (USGA Senior Amateur).

 

Junior success: Olympic runs a highly successful junior membership program, which produced Venturi and Miller, who as an 18-year-old amateur, tied for eighth in the 1966 U.S. Open held at Olympic. Lately that program can boast of Elliott Wainwright (2002 U.S. Junior semifinalist and 2003 U.S. Amateur qualifier) and Jordan Cox, the 2003 U.S. Junior runner-up. Cox, now 16, is exempt for this year's championship.

 

Wild finishes: Olympic Club has been the site of some of the most dramatic final-round comebacks in U.S. Open history. In 1955, unheralded Jack Fleck rallied to beat Ben Hogan in a playoff, thus denying him a record fifth Open title. Eleven years later, Arnold Palmer blew a seven-stroke lead over the last nine holes to Billy Casper , and lost in an 18-hole playoff.

 

Wild hole: At the 1998 U.S. Open, the 18th hole became the focus of attention in the second round when the flag was located toward the back of the severely sloping green. Any putt from above the hole turned into an adventure for the competitors. The green has since been rebuilt and leveled slightly.

 

Did you know?: Former baseball great and Hall of Famer Ty Cobb was competing in the club championship in 1940 and got handily defeated by a young junior. The drubbing was so bad that Cobb , who was known to have a temper, simply walked off the course in a huff of anger and did not return for several years. The young hotshot who beat the ex-Detroit Tigers second baseman was Bob Rosburg, who would go on to win the 1959 PGA Championship.