The Midwest Cup was originated by tournament director Eric Hjortness’ desire to give golfers a chance to play and represent their respective states in a first class team format (Ryder Cup Style) on the finest golf courses in the Midwest. Recognizing most state team competitions were being dominated by college golfers, this event was directed at giving mid and senior amateurs the opportunity to represent their state. The tournament is meant to parallel the Tournament of Champions on the PGA tour, and is based on the executive committees’ experiences playing in the USGA Amateur, Sunnehanna Amateur, and other great events. The event hopes to achieve the highest level of excellence in five categories known as the five C’s: Course selection, Competition, Camaraderie, Charity, and Class. Ultimately, the goal of the event is to become the premier amateur event in the Midwest.
The following two newspaper articles provide some additional background on the thoughts and motivations for creating the Midwest Cup. Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel Article | Wisconsin State Journal Article
Another key facet of the event was to try to give back to the golf community that had helped give many of the competitors a start in golf. The event has already contributed over $25K to notable charities like the Evans Scholars Foundation and various golf associations and programs.
The tournament is hosted by The Badgerland Cup, a 501(c)3 corporation that originally oversaw the Wisconsin Badgerland Cup tournament. A second event, the Illinois-Wisconsin Cup, was started in 2006. Illinois won the inaugural event. In 2010, the name was changed to the Midwest Cup with the addition of teams from Iowa, Nebraska, and Minnesota. Having more than two teams necessitated the move to a new team competition format. The event was expanded to include a medal play championship that combined with the team competition.
The tournament has had the opportunity to play on the following outstanding venues:
- 2006 – Cantigny Golf Club in Illinois – GolfWeek top ten course in Illinois
- 2007 – Geneva National in Wisconsin – GolfWeek top ten course in Wisconsin
- 2008 – Maple Bluff Country Club in Wisconsin – Host of numerous state ams and opens in Wisconsin
- 2009 – Rich Harvest Farms in Illinois – Golf Digest top five course in Illinois
- 2010 – Glen Oaks Golf Club in Iowa – Golf Digest top five course in Iowa
- 2011 – Erin Hills in Wisconsin – Site of the 2011 US Amateur and 2017 US Open
- 2012 – Hasting Country Club in Minnesota – Site of Minnesota State Amateur in 2012
- 2013 – Wild Horse Golf Club in Nebraska – Golf Magazine top public course in Nebraska