Best New Idea in Golf, the U.S. Adaptive Open, for the 2022 Golfweek Awards.
There had never been a U.S. Open like it. The 96 players that competed in the first U.S. Adaptive Open each had a unique tale to share.
One that might encourage and motivate people of all abilities to overcome obstacles in their pursuit of excellence.
At Pinehurst No. 6, there were 24 players with handicaps lower than zero. Men and women, professionals and amateurs, competed against one another.
Judi Brush, an 80-year-old player with a limb handicap, was the oldest player, and 15-year-old Sophia Howard was the youngest (arm impairment).
Dennis Walters remarked, "I don't think you would ever forget this if you were here.
Dennis Walters works on his game at Pinehurst No. 6
6 in Pinehurst, North Carolina, in preparation for the 2022 U.S. Adaptive Open. (Image: USGA/Jeff Haynes)
The PGA Tour, LPGA, and other professional golfers, as well as golf equipment makers, should all attend the Adaptive Open, according to Walters, who participated in the seated players category.
The original winners were Kim Moore, the head coach at Western Michigan who was born without a right and badly clubbed left foot, and Simon Lee, a person with intellectual disability from South Korea.
Although the contestants exuded gratitude, this championship was actually a gift to the game.
According to U.S. Golf Association CEO Mike Whan, "this is about meaning, not money and contracts."