J EFF OSBERG understands the historical importance of winning a Golf Association of Philadelphia Major Championship. He also recognizes that a moment in time
doesn’t define a legacy. Careers are labeled in far
Intent on establishing himself in that rarefied
air this season, Osberg made the William Hyndman, III Player of the Year Award, first a priority,
then a reality. Turning in top Major tournament
finishes all season long, the Huntingdon Valley
Country Club member edged friend and five-time POY Michael McDermott by 55 points (605-
550 points) for his first title.
“It was something I thought about a lot. It was
at the top of my priority list. No. 1 was to defend
my Philadelphia Amateur title. No. 2 was to win
the Player of the Year,” said Osberg, 31, of Bryn
Mawr, Pa. “I’ve been close a couple of times so
it was nice to finally get over the hump. I admire
the people that have won it.
“We’ve had so many great generations of play-
ers in the Philadelphia area. It’s exciting to think
about my children or grandchildren or people 100
years from now seeing my name next to players
like Jay Sigel, Michael McDermott, William Hyn-
dman and Buddy Marucci. It’s the dream of all
the top amateurs to have your name associated
with those individuals in any way.”
Though the Player of the Year was first es-
tablished in 1990, after Hyndman, Marucci and
Sigel’s reigns, Osberg’s sentiment is on point.
Champions always rise to the top. That trio of GAP
Hall of Famers made their reputations with pro-
longed seasons of excellence--something Osberg
has been in the process of recording himself.
This year, the long hitter established himself
as a contender from the very outset. He placed
second in the 32nd Middle-Amateur Championship presented by Callaway Golf with a final-round 69 despite difficult, frigid conditions at
St. Davids Golf Club.
In the 115th BMW Philadelphia Amateur
Championship a few weeks later, Osberg opened
defense of his 2014 title in spectacular style. He
cruised to medalist honors with a pair of 3-un-
der-par 68s at Llanerch Country Club and Roll-
ing Green Golf Club. His 6-under total equaled
the Amateur Qualifier scoring record. In Round
2 of the Amateur match play draw at Llanerch,
he squared off against McDermott, representing
Merion Golf Club, in a highly anticipated show-
down. Both are former Llanerch club champions.
Both are Major Champions. In a match filled with
plenty of drama, McDermott defeated Osberg on
the 18th hole (No. 9), 2-up.
“I had a great match against Michael. To come
out on the losing end of that really hurt,” said Osberg. “The Philly Amateur was one I was playing
really great golf and I thought I was in a good position to make a run there. I wish Michael and I
could have had 36 holes in the Final. It’s always
fun to play the best, win or lose. I got him when
he was playing his best and he beat me. It was a
lot of fun to be a part of.”
Osberg brought the August heat in the Jo- seph H. Patterson Cup at Chester Valley Golf
Club. He grabbed the first-round lead with a competitive course record 64. A bit of a Day 2 struggle
dropped him into a tie for third. However, all was
not lost. Osberg secured a second Silver Cross
Award (given to the player with the lowest aggregate score in the qualifying rounds of the BMW
Philadelphia Amateur Championship and the Patterson Cup). He also won the 2010 Silver Cross.
“I played some really great golf this season,”
said Osberg, “which is reflective in the Silver
Osberg and McDermott both qualified for the
U.S. Mid-Am. in October with the POY still up for
grabs, but neither advanced out of stroke play
qualifying, resulting in the final standings.
“Jeff took his game to a whole other level this
year. He was the right person to win it,” said
McDermott, 40, of Bryn Mawr, Pa. “I really think
he was far and away the best player in the GAP
this year. The points may say I got close, but
deep down I always felt like Jeff was playing at
a different level than everybody else. It was fun
for me to get close to him but I think ultimately
the right guy won this year.”
Getting to the top is also a triumph for Osberg
for a different reason.
It was only a few years ago Osberg had multiple back surgeries to alleviate leg numbness.
“It still weighs on me now,” said Osberg of
his physical concerns. “I still have a significant
amount of problems. I really don’t know week in
and week out through the season physically how
I’ll be able to perform.
“I keep in mind that if I can healthy and get bet-
ter each year there is still a lot of good golf to be
played. Hopefully my career is long from over.”
If the back holds up, those aforementioned
iconic names may add a member. m
WILLIAM HYNDMAN, III Player of the Year
JEFF OSBERG _________________ BY MARTIN D. EMENO, JR. _________________
Jeff Osberg with caddie John Leighton. Leighton has
been a constant on Osberg’s bag the last two years.