Most Memorable Moments from the 2022 USGA Championship Season
Do you remember Fitzpatrick’s Sweet Homecoming?
Before this championship U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, Matthew Fitzpatrick didn’t believe in karma, but he does now. All the positive energy Fitzpatrick absorbed from his 2013 U.S. Amateur performance came flooding back nine years later, despite the routing being a little different and the course being a little longer.
Fitzpatrick defeated two American emerging stars, Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris, to win his first major title in 2022, as opposed to 1913, when a young American amateur named Francis Ouimet shocked the sporting world by defeating two English stalwarts.
The dramatic final round, which ultimately became a three-man show, was capped off by two heroic approach shots: the first, a remarkable 5-iron from the right rough on the par-4 15th to set up a birdie, and the second, a remarkable 9-iron fairway bunker shot at the finishing hole that resulted in a two-putt par.
Fitzpatrick became the third person, along with Jack Nicklaus and Juli Inkster, to win the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur titles at the same location.
It appeared inevitable that the U.S. Senior Open final round would take place at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Padraig Harrington of Ireland was in cruise control until Steve Stricker on Sunday made an ordinary round special. The 2022 winner, who was eight shots down to start the day, shot a 65 that featured birdies on four of his final five holes to almost complete one of the year’s most spectacular comebacks.
Only a 30-foot birdie by Harrington on hole No. 15 and three good two-putt pars—the last one a heart-stopping 3-footer on hole No. 18—kept Stricker from overtaking the amiable Irishman and winning the championship.
Harrington prefigured what would happen in Wisconsin a few months later by being the first Irishman from the Republic of Ireland to win a USGA event (U.S.Northern Ireland is home to Open champions Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.
In the 54-hole tournament, Simon Lee won the men’s division and Kim Moore, a golf coach at Western Michigan University, won the women’s division, but the real victors were all of us who got to watch. We are eagerly anticipating the championship’s follow-up in July after all 96 contestants showed unwavering energy and unmatched enthusiasm for the sport.
East and West
The USGA had never held a championship in the Last Frontier or a U.S. territory in its 128-year history. Both took place in 2022.
In April, the Grand Reserve Golf Club in Puerto Rico hosted the 7th U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, and for the first time, the USGA released the final summary in Spanish.
Alaska completed the tour of the 50 states hosting a USGA championship three months after it made its debut. In keeping with tradition, Canadian Shelly Stouffer won the U.S. Championship for Senior Women Amateurs at the Anchorage Golf Course.