Golfers Who Won Both the U.S. Amateur and British Amateur Championships

Golfer Walter Travis

How many golfers have won both the U.S. Amateur Championship and the British Amateur Championship? Not many! It's tough to win just one of these prestigious amateur golf titles, after all, much less both of them. But 13 golfers have managed to pull off this feat. Some of those who did it are very big names in golf history, and others are ... not.

The two biggest names, however, are both missing. Neither Jack Nicklaus nor Tiger Woods was able to win the British Amateur.

The United States Amateur Championship (usually shortened to U.S. Amateur), run by the United States Golf Association, dates to 1895. The British Amateur (officially named The Amateur Championship) dates to 1885.

The List: 13 Golfers Who Won the U.S. and British Amateurs

Listed in chronological order, there are the 13 golfers who've pulled off the biggest double in men's amateur golf:
  • Walter Travis:Travis (pictured above) won the U.S. Amateur three times, in 1900, 1901 and 1903. He added the British Amateur in 1904, becoming the first golfer to win both. Travis showed up to the British Amateur in 1904 with the center-shafted Schenectady putter. The British golf world was so taken aback by a center-shafted putter and Travis winning with one that a movement sprung up to get them banned. In 1910, the R&A did just that. The ban wasn't lifted until 1951.
  • Harold Hilton: "Hal" Hilton was a four-time British Am winner (1900, 1901, 1911, 1913), and won the U.S. title in 1911. He was the first golfer to win both of the biggest amateur titles in the same year. (He also won the 1892 British Open and 1897 British Open, prior to any of his national amateur championship wins, playing as an amateur.)
  • Jess Sweetser: Famous for handing Bobby Jones the worst defeat Jones ever suffered in either of the two amateur majors (Sweetser beat Jones 8-and-7 in the 1922 U.S. Amateur semifinals), Jess Sweetser won the U.S. Am in 1922 and the British Am in 1926.
  • Bobby Jones: Jones won the U.S. Amateur five times: 1924, 1925, 1927, 1928 and 1930. He won the British Amateur "just" once, in 1930. But that one win helped Jones achieve the Grand Slam in 1930 (which, at the time, was winning all four of the U.S. and British amateurs and the U.S. and British opens). Jones was the second man after Hilton to win both titles in the same year.
  • Lawson Little: Little joined the short list of golfers who won both titles in the same year when he did it in 1934. And then, for good measure, he did it again in 1935: Victories in the U.S. Amateur in 1934-35, victories in the British Amateur in 1934-35.
  • Willie Turnesa: Turnesa won the U.S. Amateur in 1938, the British Am in 1947, and added another U.S. Am in 1948.
  • Dick Chapman: A 1940 U.S. Amateur winner and 1951 British Am winner, Chapman might be best-remembered for doing something else: He was the inventor of the Chapman System format, also known as Pinehurst System.
  • Harvie Ward: E. Harvie Ward Jr. won the American championship in 1955 and 1956, after already having won the British championship in 1952.
  • Deane Beman: The future PGA Tour commissioner won the British Amateur first in 1959, then added two titles (1960, 1963) in the U.S. Am.
  • Bob Dickson: Dickson won both titles in 1967, the most-recent golfer to win the U.S. and British amateur championships in the same year.
  • Steve Melnyk: Won the U.S. Amateur in 1969 and the British Amateur in 1971.
  • Vinny Giles III: Won the U.S. Amateur in 1972 and the British Amateur in 1975.
  • Jay Sigel: Sigel was one of the last great lifetime amateurs (well, until he turned pro to play on the Champions Tour). He won the British Am first, in 1979, then added U.S. Amateur titles in 1982 and 1983.
That's it: Those are the 13 golfers who won the United States Amateur Championship and The Amateur Championship. No new names have shown up on the list since 1982. And it might be a while before anymore do: Truth is, it's not that common anymore for the best American amateurs to play the British Amateur; and not all the top Brits still travel to play the U.S. Am.

The four golfers who won both in the same year are Harold Hilton, Bobby Jones, Lawson Little and Bob Dickson.

Photo credit: Walter Travis photographed by Bain News Service; Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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