Richard D. Chapman (March 23, 1911 – November 15, 1978) was an American amateur golfer. Time magazine crowned Chapman "the Ben Hogan of amateur golf".
Chapman was born in Greenwich, Connecticut. He was the 1940 U.S. Amateur golf champion. He was a member of Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, which was the site of his first major triumph. He remains one of only three players to have won a USGA title on their home course. He holds a place in the Masters Tournament record book for the most appearances (19) as an amateur, a distinction he shares with Charles Coe.
Although Chapman was quite the international player, winning the 1951 British Amateur, he also won state amateur championships in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and the Carolinas. He also won the prestigious North and South Amateur. At the 1958 U.S. Amateur, Chapman and his son, Dixie, both qualified, giving a rare father-and-son appearance.
Chapman's career was put on hold for World War II, where he served as a major in the U.S. Army Air Corps. After the war, Chapman picked up where he left off, with a string of victories in the British, French, Canadian, and Italian amateurs. Chapman is one of only two players (the other is Harvie Ward) who has won the U.S., British, and Canadian Amateur Championships.
"Blessed with a strong competitive spirit and an inquiring mind into the technicalities of the swing," reads the entry on Chapman in Who's Who in Golf. "Chapman not only played the game but wrote about it and worked at its many phases."
In the 1950s, Chapman collaborated with the USGA on a handicap format for foursomes play called the Chapman System. The system worked as follows: two golfers on the same team each tee off, then play the other's ball. From there, the team would play out the best shot.
Chapman played on the winning Walker Cup teams in 1947, 1951, and 1953.
Chapman's final success came in 1967 with a victory in the International Senior Amateur. A stroke in the early 1970s hampered his career, and he died in Rancho Santa Fe, California in 1978.
Chapman was inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame in 2001.
By Dean Hanley
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