The last time the Manoa Cup wasn’t played was World War II. But this week the Hawaii State Golf Association announced that at the very least, the illustrious tournament was postponed, and could very well be canceled.
It would have been the 112th playing of the Manoa Cup, the oldest golf tournament in Hawaii, and among the oldest in the country.
“To put your name up there on that trophy and to have your name listed with all these greats of Hawaii, a lot of them are the Hawaii Golf Hall of Fame as well, so to be listed with them, that truly is an honor for the winner,” said Paul Ogawa, the executive director of Hawaii State Golf Association.
But this year, that honor might not be won. The Hawaii State Golf Association has not ruled out playing the tournament later this year, but there are many moving parts to monitor, most of all, the state guidelines.
“There’s 111 years of history, so we don’t want to modify the format or how we host it too much, if any,” said Ogawa.
Number of carts, people to run live scoring, and Oahu Country Club’s schedule are among the factors working against the Manoa Cup, which has not missed a year since 1942 and 43 due to World War II.
“It’s an unfortunate historic event that we’re living through right now, but it takes something of that kinda mass proportion to rock the world we’re living in,” said Tyler Ota who won the Manoa Cup last year and before that in 2015.
“It’s unfortunate but I guess given the circumstances of this year, it’s kind of expected,” Ota said. “There’s just so much that goes into putting on a tournament. And too many moving pieces for such an uncertainty, our health, and the players health, and the members and staff, that comes first.”
Ota recently turned pro, but had the pursuit of his dreams delayed because of the pandemic. He’s one of several multi-time winners. The most frequent champion is Francis Brown who lifted the trophy nine times throughout the 20’s and 30’s.
“Guys like Guy Yamamoto who won the U.S. Amatuer Public Links, the national championship. There’s actually a long list of people that won it, a lot of them have gone on to successful professional careers,” said Ogawa.
With a match-play format, akin to the U.S. Amateur, the Manoa Cup has been around long before many of us
“Historical, traditional, and to me it just goes back to the roots of golf.”