Here’s why a U.S. Amateur contestant shooed away his opponent on the green

u.s. amateur

Tyler Strafaci had no interest in making life easier for his opponent.

Match play can be a beautiful thing, and even more beautiful when it takes place at Bandon Dunes, like it has all week for the 2020 U.S. Amateur. Unlike its medal play cousin, we get true mano-y-mano golf, and it leads to some tense moments.

Look no further than Tyler Strafaci and Aman Gupta’s semifinal match Saturday evening.

Strafaci had built a big lead Saturday — as much as 4 up with eight holes to play — before Gupta mounted a comeback. Somewhere in the middle, Gupta found his ball almost exactly on the line of a putt for Strafaci.

Like any smart match player, Gupta positioned himself exactly down the line from his opponent, who sized up the read. While it might seem a bit opportunistic, there is nothing in the rules of golf that clarifies where players must stand. So Gupta thoughtfully took his spot, some 10 feet or so behind Strafaci, who was having none of it.

As you can see in the video above, Strafaci did not want Gupta standing on the extended line back from him, waving him off the line and to the side multiple times. Was it just Gupta he was concerned with? Perhaps. Strafaci’s father was also in the same vicinity of the green and was waved off as well. Perhaps he’s just a finicky player? It’s hard to tell, but it wasn’t the only intricate match play moment for Strafaci during this U.S. Amateur.

During his Round of 16 match against Segundo Oliva Pinto, Pinto’s caddie bent over and touched the sand in a bunker where Pinto’s ball laid. That sent Strafaci’s father into Rules mode, and eventually it ruled the hole and match in Strafaci’s favor. He rode the momentum all the way to the final match, where some 36th-hole heroics crowned him U.S. Amateur champion.


Sean Zak Editor

Zak is a writer at GOLF Magazine and just finished a book about the summer he spent in St. Andrews.