Legacy On the Links
Inaugural Dye Junior Invitational at Crooked Stick Golf Club Honors Pete & Alice Dye
At the inaugural Dye Junior Invitational Golf Championship, participants and attendees alike will celebrate both the game of golf and two of its greatest advocates and competitors — Pete and Alice Dye.
The national junior invitational tournament, which will be held at Crooked Stick Golf Club, was put together to honor the Crooked Stick course and the legacy of its founders, Pete and Alice Dye.
Chris Wirthwein, tournament media director and Crooked Stick historian, says the idea for the event was originally conceived as a way to celebrate Alice, who passed away in February of 2019, and Pete, who passed away in January.
“After Alice passed away, those at the club, and past presidents, said that if there’s any golf club in the world that could and should pay tribute to the Dyes, it’s Crooked Stick,” Wirthwein says. “Pete and Alice were both very accomplished junior golfers and that’s how they got started in the game, so the idea came about for a junior tournament.”
Wirthwein says additional inspiration for the tournament came from a desire on the part of club leaders to connect young people more directly to the Dye legacy.
“There are young players today who have probably heard the Dye name and played on some courses they designed but maybe don’t have a personal identification,” he says. “It became our dream to help young players, who are going to be the PGA Tour stars of tomorrow, understand how important Pete and Alice Dye are to golf and American golf course design.”
Born in Urbana, Ohio, Pete became the 1942 Ohio state high school boys champion, and Alice, an Indianapolis native, won many tournaments in Indiana. The two met at Rollins College after World War II, and, after marrying in 1950, went on to become successful amateur golfers as Pete became an insurance salesman in Indianapolis.
“In their time, amateur golf was a really big deal,” says Wirthwein, who authored a 220-page book on Pete and Alice’s lives and legacy. “Alice told me they were like the Tiger Woods of their day.”
During a trip overseas in 1963, when Pete competed in the British Amateur Championship, the couple was able to get an up-close look at the Old Course at St. Andrews, considered the oldest golf course in the world, and were inspired to design a golf club in Indianapolis upon their return. Their vision became Crooked Stick Golf Club.
“Pete, Alice and four other guys scouted the land, raised the money, put the club structure together and built it,” Wirthwein says. “They referred to it as their first-born. Pete and Alice lived on the golf course for many, many years, and Pete was Crooked Stick’s first club president as well.”
The Dyes went on to design both public and private courses all over the country and the world.
Over the years, the 18-hole Crooked Stick course has been the site of many national and world championship competitions including the PGA Championship in 1991, won by John Daly, and the U.S, Women’s Open in 1993, at which Lauri Merten was the victor. More recently, the club hosted the 2012 and 2016 BMW championships. The course is consistently included as one of the top 100 golf courses in the country by “Golfweek” and “Golf Magazine.”
The three-day Dye Junior Invitational will be held May 25 through 27. The date is tentative and could change depending on new COVID-19 stay-at-home orders or updates. It will consist of practice rounds on the first day, followed by 36 holes on Tuesday and a final, 18-hole round on Wednesday. A total of 33 boys and 33 girls will compete, and all participants will be nationally ranked.
The Dye tournament will involve more than one legacy, as John Daly II, an amateur golfer whose father won the PGA Championship at Crooked Stick nearly 30 years ago with a score of 276, is scheduled to compete.
Players and attendees at the event will also have the chance to visit exhibits set up by Crooked Stick leaders containing information about the legacy of Pete and Alice Dye.
Wirthwein says the hope of tournament organizers is to continue the Dye Junior Invitational for many years to come.
“What’s special about this invitational is that it’s boys and girls competing in the same tournament at the same time, at the same course,” Wirthwein says. “And that’s very fitting to honor both Pete and Alice and their legacy. There’s nothing else like it. Alice and Pete were around for 90-plus years, and I hope their tournament is around for 90-plus years.”
For more details on the 2020 Dye Junior Invitational golf championship, including a full listing of participants ad volunteer info, visit dyejuniorinvitational.com.