One of the confusing things about golf is the number of different tournament formats that are played. Part of that is on display at the USGA Amateur Open. The first two days were stroke play meaning that in order to make it to the next stage you needed to have one of the 64 lowest scores for the two rounds of golf. In stroke play all they do is add up your total strokes on both rounds.
This was made more interesting this week because Chambers Bay was so difficult. Occasionally, I’d hear non-printable exasperations coming from golfers as they worked their way through the course.
But stroke play makes the most sense because the initial field for the tournament is 312 players. The best way to cull the field is stroke play. It’s the same on the PGA tour where they play 2 days of stroke play to determine ‘the cut’ or who moves on to play the next round. Not making the cut used to mean sometimes not eating on the tour. No so such any more. On the PGA Tour you keep your score as you continue onto 2 more rounds of stroke play.
But the USGA Amateur Open moves into match play after the cut is made. Match play is somewhat described by the USGA and described in excessive detail on wikipedia. But in it’s simplest form the players to out to play 18 holes essentially try to win the most holes. Total stroke count for the round is ignored. If both players score the same on the hole, then it’s halved meaning neither of them score. When it’s tied it’s called ‘All Square’ So the score is said ‘2 and 1’ so that regular folks need to look at wikipedia to have any understanding of what’s going on.
The best part about this scoring system is when Tiger Woods gave a news conference after beating Stephen Ames. Ames had called out Woods on how is drives seemed to land all over the place. Woods when asked if the comment had lit a fire underneath him would only respond ‘9 and 8.’ Which means after playing 10 holes Woods had won 9. with 8 holes remaining Ames couldn’t make up the difference and was defeated. Winning 9 out of 10 holes is a major spanking.
Today the field was reduced to 32 players. Tomorrow there are two rounds to reduce the field to 8.