Merion’s Maude returns to Major spotlight
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It was 14 years ago when, fresh out of Wake Forest University, Tug Maude won the Joseph H. Patterson Cup in a playoff at Concord Country Club.
On Thursday, Maude, 36, of Atlanta, Ga., completed play in his first GAP Major since that 2005 victory. As it turned out, his second Patterson Cup appearance nearly ended identically to the first. Playing in the event’s 117th edition, presented by Callaway Golf at Applebrook Golf Club (par 71, 6,744 yards), Maude fought back from an opening 72 with a 4-under-par 67 in Round Two — a feat achieved despite a closing double bogey on No. 18 (par 4, 454 yards).
It will remain unknown, however, if his stellar play would have earned Maude GAP’s final Major of the year. The tournament’s second round was voided after weather prevented its completion, forcing the leaderboard to revert to 18-hole totals.
“It’s a little disappointing but I understand you can’t always get the weather to cooperate,” Maude, who defeated Conrad Von Borsig in an 18-hole playoff in 2005, said. “Next time maybe I’ll try to play my better round in the first round.”
Where Maude would have finished on the leaderboard given more daylight and less weather delays is unclear. What is obvious, however, is the significance of an accomplished GAP player of the past teeing it up again this week.
“I flew up because I wanted to play in one of the most prestigious GAP Majors,” Maude, a Merion Golf Club member, said. “I speak very highly of GAP when I’m in Atlanta. I don’t know if there’s better competition in any golf association in the country other than the USGA.”
The prolific competition is certainly relished by Maude, particularly after his extended hiatus from tournament play. After competing in a local U.S. Open qualifier at Whitford Country Club in 2013, Maude did not partake in tournament golf again until December 2017, when he partnered with longtime friend John Sawin to play in a U.S. Amateur Four-Ball qualifier. The two reached the Round of 16 at Jupiter Hills Club in Tequesta, Fla., falling to eventual champions Garrett Barber and Cole Hammer, 4&3.
Familial affairs, as they do for many, shifted Maude’s focus. After he moved Atlanta in 2009, Maude married Melissa McGuirk, the daughter of Atlanta Braves Chairman, Terry McGuirk, in 2012. The couple now has two children: daughter Davis, 6, and son Harold “Driver” Edward Maude, IV, 1.
For six years, golf receded on Maude’s priority list. After nearly notching a spot in the 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, however, the itch to play finally became too much to ignore. Maude and Sawin, a former GAP competitor himself, fell in a playoff in a qualifier held at Poppy Hills. The performance however, rejuvenated Maude’s passion and confidence.
“We had a lot of fun,” Maude said. “We hit it well and played well, and I sort of said, ‘I want to start doing this again.’”
Maude’s comeback saw the former Haverford School standout firing scores reminiscent of his youth. He won the prestigious Travis Invitational at Garden City Golf Club in May before a semifinal appearance in the Pennsylvania Golf Association’s R. Jay Sigel Amateur Match Play Championship in July.
“It’s definitely a different mentality,” Maude said regarding the transformed approach he has adopted during the second leg of his golfing career. “It’s not live or die anymore on what the scores are. It’s fun again.”
For this week, at least, Maude has returned to the Philadelphia golf scene. In addition to winning the Patterson Cup in 2005, he finished as runner-up in the Amateur Championship and earned the William Hyndman, III Player of the Year Award that same year. Despite his distinguished past, Maude’s nearly decade long absence from the GAP circuit has left the region’s younger players a bit perplexed.
“I was playing well [at the Sigel],” Maude said. “Apparently some guys who I used to play with back here said these young guys were saying, ‘Who’s this Tug Maude guy?’ I thought that was pretty funny.”
The second oldest Championship in the Golf Association of Philadelphia, the Joseph H. Patterson Cup memorializes a man who fostered the game in its infancy. Joseph Henry Patterson, a Philadelphia Cricket Club member, competed in the first out-of-town match played by a team of Philadelphians. Friends of Patterson donated the Cup, designed by J.E. Caldwell & Co., to the Association in 1900.
Callaway Golf was founded in 1982 by the late Ely Callaway, a visionary entrepreneur who operated under a simple but profound business promise: Deliver Demonstrably Superior, Pleasingly Different products and services. That philosophy turned what was originally a boutique manufacturer of high-quality wedges and putters into the world’s largest maker of premium, performance golf products. The Callaway mission and vision has remained the same; we passionately pursue advanced, innovative technologies that help golfers of all abilities find more enjoyment from the game. Under the Callaway and Odyssey brands, Callaway manufactures and sells golf clubs and golf balls, and sells golf apparel, footwear and accessories in more than 110 countries worldwide.
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 274 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.