Roanoke, VA-(WFXR) – On February 27th the Scott Robertson Memorial was notified by the Gator Invitational Junior Championship that their 2020 event would have to be canceled due to historic flooding in the Jackson, MS area. This news touched the Scott Robertson Memorial committee, as we could imagine their heartbreak having to cancel their event. We could not begin to imagine that less than a month later the 2020 Scott Robertson Memorial would also have to be canceled.
The Scott Robertson Memorial committee is feeling a huge sense of loss during this week, in which the 37th annual SRM should be taking place at Roanoke Country Club. The committee, volunteers, and staff of Roanoke Country Club takes great pride each year in welcoming 175 juniors and their families from all over the United States and the world.
The entry deadline for the 2020 Scott Robertson Memorial had not passed at the time the decision was made to cancel the event. The official entry deadline was March 31st. We were headed toward a record number of applications before the COVID-19 virus became a daunting issue in our nation, and applications began to slow. However, we were still receiving applications from the top juniors in the nation until the entries were closed. We had received over 330 applications (Between our 4 divisions), from 31 states and 15 foreign countries.
Our Girls 15-18 division was once again heading toward being a top field in the nation for 2020. There were 3 players returning that finished in the top 10 in the 2019 Scott Robertson Memorial, 5 young ladies ranked in the top 50 junior girls in the nation, a 2019 US Women’s Amateur qualifier who made the round of 64 and a US Women’s Open Qualifier to name a few accomplishments among our applicants.
We felt that the Boys 15-18 division would have had one of the strongest fields since the 2006 event. A year in which Rickie Fowler, Smylie Kauffman, Patrick Reed, Chesson Hadley, Peter Uihlein, Spencer Lawson and Lanto Griffin were participants.
The Boys 15-18 division had received applications from 12 of the top 25 in the 2019 Scott Robertson Memorial, including the Champion Michael Brennan of Leesburg, VA. There were four 2019 AJGA All American’s slated to play. To date there were 15 applicants ranked in the top 100 junior boys in the nation, 8 of which are ranked in the top 50.
The 2019 Scott Robertson Memorial hosted 2 of our strongest fields in our 36 year history. Both the Boys 15-18 and the Girls 15-18 divisions were ranked 11th in the nation, by Golfweek for their strength of field in 2019. This ranking is out of 300+ junior events ranked by Golfweek.
The Scott Robertson Memorial has not been the only junior golf event that has fallen victim to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. The junior golf world has been greatly affected by the cancelation of many major events. Although the Scott Robertson Memorial was one of the first major junior events to be canceled for 2020, the cancelation of events has stretched all the way into the month of October.
Listed here are a few of the major events that have been canceled to date:
- Scott Robertson Memorial
- USGA Junior Amateur
- USGA Girls Junior
- AJGA Thunderbird International Junior
- ANA Junior Inspiration
- SDJGA IMG Academy Junior Golf World Championships
- Optimist International Junior
- AJGA Junior All-Star Invitational
- AJGA Hunter Mahan Junior
- Western Junior Championship
- Bubba Conlee National Junior
The American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) has suspended their tournament play from March 16th until June 8th, when the AJGA Junior at Sedgefield Country Club is slated to take place. They will not release the updated schedules for the remainder of the 2020 season until May 20, at which time further cancelations my still be announced.
The Junior Golf Scoreboard, based out of Richmond, VA, computes the national rankings of junior golfers in the United States. Due to the current situation in our nation, they have paused the ranking process. Their Executive Director, Mac Thayer made the following statement on April 25th: “In view of the current situation with the sport of competitive junior golf, we have decided to place the Scoreboard Rankings on hold until further notice. The rankings as of April 23rd are still available along with all search functions. All events now in player’s list of tournaments will continue to be displayed and will not roll off after 365 days have passed. We appreciate all the input we have received from parents, players, and golf organizations and we look forward to the time the sport resumes. Most of all, let’s stay safe.”
The impact of the cancelation of major events and junior tour events will be felt for months in the junior golf world.
The cancelation of the 2020 Scott Robertson Memorial has also made a huge financial impact on The First Tee Roanoke Valley. The Scott Robertson Memorial has helped support The First Tee Roanoke Valley from its establishment in 2005. “The Scott Robertson has built and sustained The First Tee of Roanoke Valley, a program developed to teach golf and life skills to children throughout our Valley. Last year, The First Tee of Roanoke Valley served 9,556 children in our community through programs offered in schools, in partnership with area youth service agencies, and in classes conducted at our facility in Northwest Roanoke. During quarantine, our creative coaches provided lessons for school teachers to share and created online instruction for our registered participants. While we miss seeing our kids in person, we have worked hard to provide a sense of routine and normalcy. During this time, we’ve focused on, practiced, and encouraged the First Tee Core Values of Perseverance, Courtesy, Respect as well as golf skills.” – Jennifer Blackwood, Executive Director The First Tee Roanoke Valley
The 2020 Scott Robertson Memorial will not be rescheduled. It is not possible to reschedule with the uncertainty of the impact of the spread of the virus, as well as a full schedule for other junior golf events and the availability of Roanoke Country Club.
The Scott Robertson Memorial will resume its regular schedule in 2021.
On a brighter note, we would like to congratulate the 2019 Scott Robertson Memorial Boys Champion, Michael Brennan of Leesburg, VA on being named one of the 2020 Byron Nelson International Junior Golf Awards winners.
We want to thank Truist for their support and partnership with the 2020 Scott Robertson Memorial. We look forward to carrying on our strong tradition in 2021.