1959 – HCEG Muirfield

GB&I 3 – 9 USA

May 15-16, 1959
Muirfield, Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland
6,806 yards / Par72

Captains: Gerald Micklem (GB&I) and Charles Coe (USA)

Day 1 Foursomes (GB&I players first)
Reid Jack / Doug Sewell lost to Harvie Ward Jr / Dr. Frank Taylor Jr 1 hole
Joe Carr / Guy Wolstenholme lost to William Hyndman III / Tommy Aaron 1 hole
Michael Bonallack / Arthur Perowne lost to William Patton / Charles Coe 9&8
Michael Lunt / Alec Shepperson lost to Ward Wettlaufer / Jack Nicklaus 2&1
GB&I 0 – USA 4

Day 2 Singles
Joe Carr beat Charles Coe 2&1
Guy Wolstenholme lost to Harvie Ward Jr 9&8
Reid Jack beat William Patton 5&3
Doug Sewell lost to William Hyndman III 4&3
Alec Shepperson beat Tommy Aaron 2&1
Michael Bonallack lost to Deane Beman 2 holes
Michael Lunt lost to Ward Wettlaufer 6&5
Dickson Smith lost to Jack Nicklaus 5&4
GB&I 3 – USA 5

Match Result: GB&I 3 – USA 9

Series Results: USA 16 – GB&I 1 (after Match 17)

Photo shows the 1959 U.S.A. Walker Cup team. They are, standing, left to right: Thomas D. Aaron, Jack W. Nicklaus (Jack Nicklaus), H. Ward Wettlaufer, William Hyndman III; sitting. left to right: E. Harvie Ward Jr., Deane R. Beman, Charles R. Coe (Captain), Wiliam J. Patton, Dr. Frank M. Taylor Jr. The match was held at Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, Muirfield, Scotland. Copyright Unknown/Courtesy USGA Archives.

1959 U.S. Walker Cup Team

(l-r) Back – Thomas Aaron, Jack Nicklaus, Ward Wettlaufer, William Hyndman III, Front – E. Harvie Ward Jr, Deane Beman, Charles Coe (c), William Patton, Frank Taylor Jr (© USGA Archives)


Match Notes

England’s Philip Scrutton, who had played for GB&I in 1955 and 1957, was tragically killed in a road accident in 1958.

On 14th November 1958 The R&A confirmed that Gerald Micklem would return as GB&I captain at Muirfield. An opening squad of 14 players was also announced. This included Michael Bonallack, Joe Carr, David Frame, Reid Jack, Michael Lunt, David Marsh, Stuart Murray, Arthur Perowne, Doug Sewell, Alec Shepperson, W. Dickson Smith, Alan Thirlwell, James Walker and Guy Wolstenholme.

Two official 72 hole trials were held – the first at the Berkshire Trophy on April 4th and 5th and the second a special invitational at Royal Lytham & St. Annes on April 9th and 10th. The Lytham event would be restricted to 40 players with the four national unions each recommending names for consideration.

Joe Carr won the Berkshire Trophy in 1959.

The following week Joe Carr (290 – 72, 73, 70, 75) won the Lytham Invitational for Walker Cup possibles. Sandy Saddler (293) was 2nd, Michael Bonallack (294) was 3rd, Reid Jack & Guy Wolstenholme (295) were tied 4th, Michael Lunt (297) 6th, David Marsh (298) 7th and Doug Sewell, Alan Bussell, James Walker & Arthur Perowne (299) all tied 11th.

The aggregate eight round scores from the two trials produced the following list for the selectors to reflect on. 1. Joe Carr (569), 2. Doug Sewell (579), 3. Reid Jack (584), 4. Guy Wolstenholme (586), 5. Michael Lunt (589), 6. Michael Bonallack (591), 7. Arthur Perowne (593), 8. James Walker (594), T9. David Frame & W. Dickson Smith (596), 11. Alec Shepperson (597), T12. David Marsh, Stuart Murray & Alan Thirlwell (600).

Given the above results it was no surprise to see the final GB&I 10-man team, announced on 14th April, selected completely from the initial squad. David Frame, Stuart Murray, Dickson Smith and Alan Thirlwell were the four players to miss out.

GB&I Chairman of Selectors Raymond Oppenheimer was not afraid to comment on the exclusions. “We feel Thirlwell’s putting is not as good as before and his method of putting is not calculated to stand up to the strain of the match” he said before moving on to his reserve. “Dick (Smith) is a very fine golfer, but he is 41 and where there are two players of about equal merit we pursue our stated policy of giving the chance to the younger man.”

GB&I were forced into a late team change. Reserve Dick Smith, the Scottish Amateur champion, replaced Jimmy Walker who fractured his kneecap in a car accident in late April. Alan Thirlwell – the dodgy putter – and Sandy Saddler were announced as the new first and second reserves on 31st April. Oppenheimer believed Saddler deserved some formal recognition for his performance at Lytham even though his chances of playing at this point in proceedings were slim.

Dick Smith injured his neck in practice which took him out of consideration for the Day 1 Foursomes. He lost 5&4 to Nicklaus in the Singles having replaced Perowne in the GB&I line-up. David Marsh, who was selected in the original 10-man line up, was ultimately not selected for either series by captain Micklem.

The USGA announced their Walker Cup team on 1st February 1959. The nine players were Tommy Aaron (21), Deane Beman (20), Charles Coe (captain), William Hyndman, Jack Nicklaus (19), William Patton, Dr. Frank Taylor Jr, E. Harvie Ward Jr and H. Ward Wettlaufer (23).

There were two notable debutants for USA at Muirfield. Future PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beaman and a 19 year old Jack Nicklaus. In a minor faux pas Nicklaus complained ahead of the match about the lack of air conditioning and his inability to find what he considered to be a decent steak. As Britain was still recovering from the after effects of World War II his remarks were not well received.

USA players Jack Nicklaus (1963-65-66-72-75-86) and Tommy Aaron (1973) would both go onto win the Masters Invitational at Augusta.

The match was played in near perfect sunny weather

A tee shot by William Hyndman (USA) at the 13th hole in the morning round of the foursomes struck a spectator and broke his nose.

Joe Carr beat Charlie Coe 2&1 in the Singles. On the 29th hole a spectator stood on  Carr’s putter shaft breaking it in to two. The Irishman saw out the contest putting successfully with his 3-iron.

The Amateur Championship was played at Royal St. George’s G.C. on May 25th-30th. Deane Beman beat his Walker Cup teammate William Hyndman 3&2 in the final. Guy Wolstenholme lost to Beman 5&4 in the semi-finals.

Copyright © 2015-2023, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.