News from Around the Green

The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.

Major Motivation

The biggest amateur championships in Texas are getting bigger.

Texas Golf Association and Legends Junior Tour majors have always loomed large on the annual schedule. They are the marquee events that mean the most to players, the ones where the atmosphere is a little more charged and the nerves a little twitchier from the get-go. And now the intensity factor is about to be ratcheted up to another level with national championship exemptions also on the line.

Beginning in 2024, the United States Golf Association (USGA) will award exemptions to four of its premier amateur championships to the winners of the Texas Amateur, Women’s Texas Amateur, and Texas Junior Amateur (Boys and Girls 15-18 Divisions). The TGA and LJT state champions will earn exemptions from qualifying for their respective national championships, including the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Women’s Amateur, U.S. Junior Amateur, and U.S. Girls’ Junior.

The USGA’s decision to award these exemptions is based on starting field rankings for the three TGA and LJT events over the last three years. The fields for the select Texas events have proven to be some of the strongest among the country’s leading golf associations’ statewide competitions of a similar nature.

“We are truly appreciative of the USGA extending national exemptions to the winners of our longest-running majors and we are thrilled for our champions to receive them,” said Kevin Porter, the TGA’s Director of Competitions for North Texas. “This is a fantastic additional championship enhancement for our players, and we look forward to seeing them compete for this amazing opportunity.”

John Cochran IV, TGA Director of Competitions for South Texas, added, “The TGA and LJT majors annually boast highly competitive fields featuring hundreds of talented amateurs from across the state. For our players to now have the opportunity to earn exemptions into some of the USGA’s most historic championships is very exciting.”

Proving just how deep the amateur golf talent pool is in Texas, a number of recent USGA national champions have come from the TGA and LJT ranks, including Jordan Spieth (2009, 2011 U.S. Junior and 2015 U.S. Open), Kelly Kraft (2011 U.S. Amateur), Scottie Scheffler (2013 U.S. Junior), Will Zalatoris (2014 U.S. Junior), Kristen Gillman (2014, 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur), and Sam Bennett (2022 U.S. Amateur).

Even if the USGA exemptions weren’t part of the equation, the slate of outstanding courses hosting this year’s TGA-LJT majors already had players eagerly awaiting the start of the season.

“We are excited to have such a great lineup of major championship sites on the schedule for 2024,” Porter said. “The players will have an opportunity to prove themselves at some of the state’s most esteemed venues, and we are grateful to our host member clubs for supporting our championships and adding to the rich golf history in Texas.”

Among the iconic host clubs this year are Lakewood Country Club in Dallas (LJT 25th Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior, June 4-6), Trinity Forest Golf Club, also in Dallas (115th Texas Amateur, June 13-16), Spanish Oaks Golf Club in Bee Cave (103rd Women’s Texas Amateur, June 25-28), The Clubs of Kingwood in Kingwood (98th Texas Junior Amateur, July 29-31), BraeBurn Country Club in Houston (49th Texas Four-Ball, Aug. 23-25), and The Nelson Golf & Sports Club in Irving (87th Texas Senior Amateur, Sept. 27-29).

The players won’t be waiting long for the action to start as the 2024 TGA-LJT major season is immediately busy and will begin Feb. 17-19 with the 15th Texas Girls’ Invitational at Eagle’s Bluff Country Club in Bullard. The opening tee shot at Eagle’s Bluff will officially kick off the first of ten majors over an eight-month stretch that will continue a long-standing tradition of excellence where the best of the best come together to showcase their skills and realize their dreams.

Over the next several pages, we’ve highlighted the courses and dates for each of these highly anticipated events that are sure to provide plenty of excitement this season. To view the full calendar of events for men, women and juniors, click on any of the following links: 2024 Men’s Schedule, 2024 Women’s Schedule, 2024 Legends Junior Tour Schedule.