The U.S. Women's Amateur is the leading golf tournament in the United States for female amateur golfers. It is played annually and is one of the 13 United States national golf championships organized by the United States Golf Association (USGA). Female amateurs from all nations are eligible to compete and there are no age restrictions. It was established in 1895, one month after the men's U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open. It is the third oldest USGA championship, over a half century older than the U.S. Women's Open Championship, which was first played in 1946. Along with the British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship, the U.S. Women's Amateur is considered the highest honor in women's amateur golf.
Since 1896 the Robert Cox Cup has been awarded annually by the USGA to the winner. The trophy was donated by Robert Cox of Edinburgh, Scotland, a member of the British Parliament and a golf course designer. It remains the oldest surviving trophy awarded for a USGA championship. Along with a gold medal, a replica of the 2-foot-high (0.61 m) silver case of Etruscan design is given to the tournament winner. The original trophy is on permanent display at the USGA Museum and Library. The Robert Cox Cup is the only USGA trophy donated by someone from another country.
The first tournament attracted a field of 13 and was played over 18 holes. Several thousand women now enter the event, and the USGA conducts sectional qualifying to reduce the number of contestants to a more manageable number. The main tournament opens with two rounds of stroke play. The leading 64 players then compete in a match play competition. The matches are played over 18 holes except for the final, which is played over 36 holes.