Along with the coveted green jacket, the winner of this year’s Masters will receive about $1.8 million dollars. Unless, of course, he also wins the Silver Cup.
The Silver Cup is the prize for the low amateur who makes the cut. Each year The Masters grants invitations to the winners of five international amateur championships and the US Amateur runner-up. The group is led by current US Am champion Bryson DeChambeau who’ll have the honor of being paired with defending champion Jordan Speith for the first two rounds.
If there’s a favorite for the Silver Cup, it figures to be DeChambeau of Clovis, California, a physics major at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
DeChambeau’s not only the reigning US Am winner, he’s also the holder of the NCAA Division I Men’s Individual title, only the fifth golfer ever to win both in the same year (along with Jack, Phil, Tiger and Ryan Moore).
Playing in four pro events in 2016, DeChambeau’s made the cut each time. He led the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi tournament in January after round one (finished T-54), made the top-20 at Dubai, and finished T-27 in the PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill last month where he carded a final round 66. This is DeChambeau’s second major; he didn’t make the cut last year in the US Open.
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) March 28, 2016
The man DeChambeau beat 7&6 in the 2015 US Amateur final is another collegian, Derek Bard of the University of Virginia. Bard is from New Hartford, New York and has never previously played in a professional event.
The current British Am champion is Romain Langasque of France. His 4&3 victory at Carnoustie over Scotland’s Grant Forrest earned him the invitation to this year’s Masters and the US Open, as well as his first major experience at last year’s British Open. Langasque made the cut to play all four rounds at St. Andrews, though he was never in contention.
China’s Jin Cheng turned 18 last month and is in the Masters field via victory in the rain-shortened Asia Pacific Amateur Championship held in Hong Kong last year. Cheng shot a course record 62 to open the tournament and was the third round leader when rain washed out the final day’s play. He’s been in 18 China Tour pro events and has one win and five top-10s.
The Latin America Amateur champion is Paul Chaplet from Costa Rico. This is not only his first time playing in a professional major, it’s his first time ever playing in a professional event.
The final amateur contestant had what was surely one of the shots of the year in 2015. Standing on the 16th tee on the 34th hole of the 36-hole final round of the US Mid-Amateur Championship, Sammy Schmitz made a hole-in-one to all but secure his title. It was not only an ace, it was an albatross; the hole is a par-4, though only 260 yards.
While the six amateurs in the field earned their invitations, they are not the world’s top amateur golfers as ranked by World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR). That honor currently goes to Spain’s Jon Rahm-Rodriguez.
DeChambeau is ranked #3, Langasque is #7, Cheng is #19 and Bard is #25. The other two are not in the top-100 of the WAGR.
While an amateur has never won the tournament founded by Bobby Jones, the greatest amateur golfer ever, three times an Am has been runner-up. The last was Charles Coe in 1961. He tied for second with Arnold Palmer just one stroke behind Gary Player who won the first of his three Masters titles that year.
Since then, no amateur golfer has even finished in the top 10 on Sunday while Ryan Moore in 2005 was the last amateur to crack the top-20.
Previous Silver Cup winners include Cary Middlecoff, Harvie Ward, Billy Joe Patton, Ken Venturi, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Matt Kucher, Sergio Garcia, Matteo Manassero and Hideki Matsuyama.
If no amateurs are around for weekend play, as was the result last year, the Silver Cup is not awarded. Even if that happens, it’s likely all of the amateurs in this year’s field will still feel like they won a million bucks.
They’ll just have to wait for the green jacket.
Hey USGolfTV readers, Troy Klongerbo here.
I’m dropping in, short and sweet, to say that Bryson DeChambeau will undoubtedly be the low amateur at the Masters this week.
Read our 2016 Masters Preview for more info on DeChambeau.