Just after the world’s best pro golfers have finished traversing the windswept links of Old Saint Andrews in this week’s British Open, the best adaptive golfers on the planet will tee off in the first-ever US Adaptive Open in Pinehurst, NC. Staged by the US Golf Association (USGA), which sponsors more than a dozen national championship tournaments (including the US Open, US Women’s Open, US Senior Open, and US Amateur), the tournament will feature 96 competitors from 29 states and 12 countries.
Because of the USGA imprimatur, the event drew an exceptionally deep and talented field, making it one of the most prestigious adaptive golf showcases ever held. The 54-hole event will be held next Monday through Wednesday, July 18-20. You can see same-day coverage on the Golf Channel.
About half the entrants will be competing with a limb difference. We highlighted a handful of amputee competitors you should know.
Jordan Thomas: His eponymous Jordan Thomas Foundation helps kids across the US get access to prosthetic devices. The organization hosts its own high-profile golf tournament each year to raise funds; the event takes place on September 16 this year in Nashville, TN. Read more about Thomas at Golf.com.
Mike Browne: “Golf gave me everything that I was missing . . . . it just saved my life, really,” says this former Royal Artillery Gunner. Browne is one of several golfers in the Open field from the EDGA, Europe’s adaptive golf association. Read more about Browne, one of the top players on the EDGA tour, at the association’s website.
Ryan Brenden: A congenital amputee (proximal femoral focal deficiency), Brendan won the inaugural US Disabled Open four years ago. A highly ranked adaptive golfer for nearly a decade, he’s one of the favorites in next week’s field. Brenden also owns an O&P facility in Omaha called Orthomedics.
Kenny Bontz: Another EDGA member, Bontz is fresh off a first-place finish in last month’s Georgia Adaptive Open. He’s also the first American golfer ever to reach the Top 10 in the World Rankings for Golfers with a Disability. A Type 1 diabetic and recovering substance abuser, Bontz has a compelling backstory. Read it at EDGA.
Ken Green: This former pro won five PGA Tour events in the late 1980s and played on the 1989 USA Ryder Cup Team. In 2009 he lost his leg in an RV accident, and since has suffered from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Read more about him at Golf Digest.