But: In the with the new, out with the old. The Amateur Public Links Championships - a k a, the Publinx - for both men and women are being discontinued, and will take place for the final time in 2014.
The men's Publinx has been part of the USGA rotation since 1922, the fourth-oldest USGA championship. The women's Publinx was added in 1977.
The winner of the men's Public Links currently gets a spot in the field at The Masters. Past winners on the men's side include Jodie Mudd, Billy Mayfair, David Berganio Jr., Tim Clark, Hunter Haas, D.J. Trahan, Chez Reavie, Ryan Moore, Brandt Snedeker and Colt Knost.
Past winner of the women's Public Links include Tracy Kerdyk, Jill McGill, Candie Kung, Michelle Wie, Yani Tseng, Tiffany Joh and Jennifer Song.
Why get rid of them? The logistics of scheduling and staging championships probably dictate that room needed to be opened within the existing schedule for any new tournaments. So once the USGA decided that adding four-ball championships was what it wanted to do, it had to decide how to fit them in. And apparently, the Publinx are viewed as expendable.
Why? The clue is in the names of the tournaments: Public Links Championship. When the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women's Amateur tournaments were created, players could enter only if they belonged to USGA member clubs. That left out a lot of golfers who didn't belong to any club, but rather played on public golf courses.
The Publinx tournaments were created to give those public-course golfers their own USGA championships. But the availability of golf - access to courses - has changed tremendously over the decades. And that USGA requirement for the amateur championships was rescinded in 1979, giving public-course golfers the ability to enter the amateur championships. And so the U.S. Amateurs and U.S. Publinx over time became, one could argue, too similar, perhaps redundant. That's one way to look at it; that's the way the USGA apparently is looking at it.
And so the Publinx are dead as of 2015, and the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship and the U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball Championship arrive in 2015. Four-ball, remember, is a 2-person team game in which all golfers play their own balls throughout. The low score between the two team members on each hole counts as the team score.
The four-ball championships will take place between mid-March and late May every year, players limited to amateurs of any age but with maximum handicap indices of 5.4 for men and 14.4 for women. For more on the new championship's, see the USGA's announcement.
For the history of the two Publinx tourneys, including their lists of champions, see: