Golf will miss Bill Campbell

Golf has witnessed many players with character, ability and mental toughness. One legendary Mountain State golfer possessed all three -William Campbell.

Campbell died at his home in Lewisburg, W.Va., on Friday at the age of 90.

Known to many friends and family members as “Mr. Campbell,” he won the West Virginia Amateur a record 15 times between 1949 and 1975 and was a three-time state Open winner. He served two years as the president of the U.S. Golf Association and served on its executive committee for 10 years. He became only the third American to be elected captain of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews, and the only man to have led both of golf’s governing bodies.

Campbell played in the U.S. Amateur for 33 straight years, winning the trophy in 1964. He won the U.S. Senior Amateur twice and played on eight Walker Cup teams from 1951 to 1975, never losing a singles match or playing on a losing team.

He was a playing captain in 1955. As an amateur golfer, Campbell had 14 U.S. Open appearances and 17 appearances in the Masters at Augusta National.

Amateur golfers like Bill Campbell seldom are seen in today’s tournaments.

Francis Ouimet was an amateur golfer and businessman famous for the biggest upset in the history of golf.

His victory in the 1913 U.S. Open over The Stylist, Harry Vardon, is considered one of the greatest moments in the history of American golf.

Ouimet proved that his win was no fluke when he won the 1914 U.S. Amateur Championship.

In what was perhaps one of the greatest travesties in golf at the time, he was banned from all USGA events, a move that was reversed in 1922, but the damage was done.

He missed eight years of golf in his prime and if he hadn’t have been banned, he may very well have been the world’s top golfer, amateur or not.

He returned to action when the ban was lifted and competed in the inaugural Walker Cup, and the seven that followed, serving as captain four more years thereafter.

He was the first ever American to serve as Captain of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, and his victory at the 1913 U.S. Open is said to have brought more than 1.5 million golfers to the game over the next 10 years.

Lydia Ko, a 16-year-old amateur golfer from New Zeland has been making her presence known on the LPGA Tour for the past couple of years. Ko became the youngest winner of a professional event at the Canadian Open. She was 15. She could not accept the $300,000 first prize due to her amateur status.

Ko has played in 14 LPGA events over the last two years, leaving almost $1 million in prize money on the table.

Ko said she’s considering asking the LPGA for an exemption to let her turn pro before she’s 18.

Contact Eddie Thomas at