USGA to retire Public Links in 2014

Updated: February 11, 2013, 1:31 PM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

One of the United States Golf Association's oldest championships will be retired following the 2014 tournament, one that saw its winner receive an invitation to the Masters.

The U.S. Amateur Public Links, which dates to 1922, will no longer be conducted beginning next year, according to the USGA, which announced it will be adding a four-ball event to its roster of championships.

Brandt Snedeker, who won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Sunday, was among the tournament's list of winners, having captured the title in 2003 -- giving him a spot in the 2004 Masters.

Michelle Wie's lone significant amateur title came at the Women's Amateur Public Links in 2003, where she became the youngest champion at age 13 in USGA history. The women's version of the event began in 1977 but is also being retired.

The USGA announced the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship and the U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball Championship will begin in 2015. They will be two-person team competitions (best ball), with no age requirement, with partners not required to be from the same club, state or country.

The men's Public Links is the USGA's fourth-oldest championship, but officials said it no longer served the same purpose. The U.S. Amateur used to only allow entry to those players who belonged to USGA members clubs. That stipulation ended in 1979.

"It wasn't without a lot of thought,'' said USGA vice president Tom O'Toole Jr. "We're not in the business of canceling championships, so this is a somber note, but yet the mission of those Public Links Championships, the men's in 1922 and the women's in 1977, no longer served that original purpose or mission.

"So it was the decision of the committee that we'd go in a different direction at this time and retire those championships, and really for the next two years celebrate them with great flair and flavor because they've been a great fiber of what the USGA has been about, but they are going to retire at the end of the '14 season.''

Among past winners of both the men's and women's Public Links events were Tim Clark, Ryan Moore, Trevor Immelman and Yani Tseng.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com