Duke Delcher was instrumental in pulling off a major golf coup last week. The South Carolina businessman, who spent his younger days in Lower Bucks County where he attended Council Rock High School, is the founder of one of the top amateur championship in the nation: The Players Amateur.
That event, whose champion earns an invitation to the PGA Tour’s Heritage Classic, regularly draws an international field. Not resting on his laurels, the Players Amateur has joined with two of the nations other top events, the Northeast Amateur and the Porter Cup, to come up with a new honor.
“It’s quite an exciting honor, you bet,” said Delcher via cell phone from Florida where he was competing in the Palm Beach Senior-Junior Amateur. “The competitor with the low aggregate score from these prestigious 3 events will be honored with the William C. Campbell Award, named after the former USGA president and one of the nation’s top career amateurs.
Campbell served as president of the USGA from 1982-83 and compiled a stellar amateur record, winning the 1964 U.S. Amateur Championship, competed in 15 U.S. Opens and 10 U.S. Senior Opens. A member of 8 Walker Cup teams (playing captain, 1955), Campbell competed in 35 U.S. Amateurs.
“When people think about the best amateur golfers, Bobby Jones is obviously number one. But William Campbell is among the best of the rest,” said Delcher, the 1973 Bucks County Courier Times Golfer of the Year. “He is a gentleman as well as excellent player, and to have him lend his name to this award is simply outstanding.”
Delcher knows a great deal about these three amateur events. He’s played in every Players Amateur since its inception, and his 3rd place finish in the 1997 Northeast Amateur aided in his selection to the U.S. Walker Cup team that year. A long-time Porter Cup participant, where he posted a dozen top-20 finishes, Delcher could have been in the hunt for the William Campbell Award had it been in existence in his prime.
“Yea, timing is everything,” joked Delcher, who is ranked among the top-100 amateurs in the nation. “Seriously, there are a number of great players who compete in these three events and the Campbell award will be a feather in the cap and treasured by the winner.
Delcher has been hindered with various physical ailments since turning 40 but says he has a clean bill of health. The two-time U.S. Amateur quarterfinalist and past winner of the Sunnyhanna Invitational is looking forward to a strong 2003.
“I feel good, I’ve been working hard on my conditioning and it has paid off,” said the 1994 U.S. Open qualifier and winner of the Philadelphia Section of the PGA’s 1976 Delaware Valley Open. “Golf is fun again.”
Now in addition to his play on the course he’s becoming a dealmaker off it as well.