Macon golfer qualifies for the 122nd U.S. Amateur

"Last summer, I don't know if I would have dreamed of this."

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods are just some legends who have captured a U.S. Amateur championship. And now, Mercer golfer and Macon native Jay Spivey has a chance to add his name to that prestigious list at the 122nd U.S. Amateur.

“It’s just an opportunity that I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid, and so for it to be real is pretty crazy. Last summer, I don’t know if I would have dreamed of this,” said Spivey.

7,800 amateur golfers from around the world, with a handicap under 2.4, competed in 94 tournaments across North America, only to have 312 qualify. Over the first two days of the U.S. Am, the players will compete for 64 spots in match-play. Once in match-play, players will go head-to-head until the final two golfers stand on Sunday for a chance to capture the title.

“I want to make match-play. Top 64 get in there. If I can get to match-play, then I feel like anything can happen,” said Spivey. “I always really like match play. I like to do that head-on-head type style. You know, I grew up playing a lot of different types of sports, so that’s kind of what I’m used to.”

A crucial element of tournament play is having a caddy who understands the course but also has extensive knowledge of the golfer’s game. Luckily for Spivey, his father has been his caddy since his sophomore year of high school.

It used to be a father-son relationship, but as Spivey’s game has improved, their relationship inside the ropes has become more professional. However, heading to one of the biggest amateur events, Spivey thought twice about hiring a local caddie with knowledge of the tournament course.

“I was really thinking hard about if I wanted him to caddy for me, just because it’s unfamiliar territory. We’ve never been in this situation before, but why would you go with something different whenever you play so well with somebody on the bag with you? Yeah, he’s coming with me,” said Spivey.

With his caddy situation figured out, luck continues to be on Spivey’s side since the tournament location, The Ridgewood Country Club and Arcola Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey, play like an old-school course.

“Old-school country club courses I just love. They’re so much fun to me. You can play many different types of shots. And then the grass on the greens is what I grew up on, bent grass. So some of my best tournaments have come from these types of golf courses. So I was very thrilled when I was looking at it and realized okay, this place really fits my game,” said Spivey.

If Spivey wins the U.S. Am, he will get exemptions into the Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship, to name a few tournaments.

The 122nd U.S. Amateur begins on August 15, and if Spivey makes it to match play, he can be watched on Peacock, NBC Golf or Golf Channel starting on Wednesday, August 17.

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