129. USGA Announces 2021 USA Walker Cup Team

1st March 2021

The USGA’s International Team Selection working group have announced their 10-man USA Walker Cup Team.

The statement puts to bed rumours, admittedly largely instigated by myself, that the match may be postponed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) team’s preparations.

The team will comprise (in alphabetical order): –

Ricky CASTILLO 20 (b. 19/02/01) of Yorba Linda, California
– WAGR 10/02/21 selection (#4).
– Florida sophomore.
– 24/02/21 WAGR #6.

Pierceson COODY 21 (b. 07/01/00) of Plano, Texas
– Committee selection.
– Texas junior.
– 24/02/21 WAGR #9.

Quade CUMMINS 24 (b. 06/03/96) of Weatherford, Oklahoma
– Committee selection.
– Oklahoma senior.
– 24/02/21 WAGR #18.

Austin ECKROAT 22 (b. 12/01/99) of Edmond, Oklahoma
– Committee selection.
– Oklahoma State senior.
– 24/02/21 WAGR #15.

Stewart HAGESTAD 29 (b. 10/04/91) of Newport Beach, California
– Committee selection (Mid-Amateur).
– USC graduate.
– 24/02/21 WAGR #11.

Cole HAMMER 21 (b. 28/08/99) of Houston, Texas
– Committee selection.
– Texas junior.
– 24/02/21 WAGR #19.

William MOUW 20 (b. 05/09/00) of Chino, California
– Committee selection.
– Pepperdine sophomore.
– 24/02/21 WAGR #23.

John PAK 22 (b. 18/12/98) of Scotch Plains, New Jersey
– WAGR 10/02/21 selection (#7).
– Florida State senior.
– 24/02/21 WAGR #5.

Tyler STRAFACI 22 (b. 23/07/98) of Davie, Florida
– 2020 U.S. Amateur champion.
– Georgia Tech graduate.
– 24/02/21 WAGR #13.

Davis THOMPSON 21 (b.05/06/99) of St. Simons Island, Georgia
– WAGR 10/02/21 selection (#2).
– Georgia senior.
– 24/02/21 WAGR #1.

Reserves

1. McClure MEISSNER 22 of San Antonio, Texas
– Committee selection.
– SMU senior.
– 24/02/21 WAGR #22.

2. Garett REBAND 21 of York, South Carolina
– Committee selection.
– Oklahoma senior.
– 24/02/21 WAGR #16.

All 12 of the above USA players were ranked in the top 23 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) at the time of the announcement.

USGA Graphic / Photo

Hagestad, Hammer and Pak are returning players from the 2019 USA Team, which defeated GB&I 15.5-10.5, at Royal Liverpool G.C., England. Hagestad was also on the victorious USA team at Los Angeles C.C., California in 2017.

The USA team will be captained for the second time by Nathaniel Crosby, of Jupiter, Florida. “It is once again a great privilege to serve as the USA captain and to work with a group who represent the best of amateur golf,” said Crosby. “The 10 team members have a notable list of accomplishments on the collegiate, national and international levels. They will represent the United States in the spirit and tradition of the Walker Cup Match.”

The 2021 match against GB&I will be played at Seminole G.C. in 68 days time on 8-9 May.

The USGA confirmed that due to health and safety guidelines “attendance at the Match will be limited.”

Please click here to read the Official USGA Team Announcement which includes full player profiles.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2021, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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121. Tyler Strafaci Wins The 2020 U.S. Amateur Championship

17th August 2020

Tyler STRAFACI, 22, won the 120th U.S. Amateur Championship at Bandon Dunes G.C. yesterday beating Charles ‘Ollie’ OSBORNE, 20, by 1 Hole in the Final.

Along with exemptions into the 2021 U.S. Masters Tournament, the 2021 U.S. Open Championship at Torrey Pines and the 2021 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s (if he remains an amateur) the win also secures Strafaci a place on the USA’s 2021 Walker Cup team.

Strafaci, a rising 5th year at Georgia Tech University, has enjoyed an impressive summer winning both the North & South Amateur at Pinehurst and more recently the Palmetto Amateur.

He started the year ranked 27th in the SPWAR but has risen to 2nd by winning the amateur game’s most prestigious event. He started the week ranked 56th in the WAGR but will obviously move into the top 20 when this ranking is updated on Wednesday.

Strafaci was selected for the 16-man 2019 USA practice squad which met up at Seminole G.C. on December 14-18th 2018. However, he failed to make the final 10-man team that travelled to Hoylake.

Hailing from Davie, near Fort Lauderdale, in Florida Strafaci’s family home is a short distance from Seminole, the venue of the next May’s match.

All in all this appears a great result for the USGA and captain Nathanial Crosby who was on hand to watch the final in Oregon. Strafaci is an experienced player who has been at the top of the amateur game for a few years now, has clearly found a little extra this summer and also brings with him the added bonus of local interest (as well as prior knowledge of Seminole) to the match.

Tyler Strafaci With The Havemayer Trophy (Photo: Steve Gibbons / USGA)

With the USGA still committed to including a mid-amateur on their team Stewart HAGESTAD, 29, now also looks certain to make his third consecutive Walker Cup appearance.

Hagestad reached the Quarter Finals in Oregon losing to the eventual champion by 1 Hole.

With the 2020 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship cancelled earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic there are now few other major opportunities for mid-amateurs to shine before the USA team is confirmed in April 2021.

Hagestad has been working in finance and is about to start an MBA course at the University of Southern California. Ranked 41st on the SPWAR and a slightly inflated 15th on WAGR, even before this week’s Championship, it would be hard for anyone to dispute his potential inclusion.

Click here for more information on the – 2020 U.S. Amateur Championship – Preview, Reports & Results (GolfBible)

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2020, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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119. The 2020 World Amateur Team Championships Are Cancelled

6th May 2020

The International Golf Federation today announced the cancellation of the 2020 Men’s and Women’s World Amateur Team Championships.

Both events had already been moved to Singapore in February due to the social unrest in Hong Kong but have now fallen victim to the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The men’s Eisenhower Trophy competition had been scheduled from October 21-24 and was due to feature up to 72 countries in a 72 hole stroke play competition.

As three-man team’s from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales would all have been competing the cancellation represents another blow to Great Britain & Ireland’s 2021 Walker Cup preparation and selection plans.

Whilst USA would also have been competing the loss is probably not as great to them as they will only miss out on blooding three of their leading players.

No one has yet suggested that the 48th Walker Cup will not be played as scheduled but with just a year to go there must now be some doubt as to whether the world will have returned to sufficient normality for the match to proceed as currently planned.

Seminole Golf Club (Photo © Carlos Amoedo)

In other news this week 2021 host venue Seminole Golf Club in Florida has agreed to stage the TaylorMade Driving Relief on 17th May. This two-man match featuring Rory McIlroy & Dustin Johnson playing Rickie Fowler & Matthew Wolff has been planned to benefit U.S. COVID-19 relief efforts.

The event will be aired live from 7-11 p.m. (BST) on Sky Sports in the UK and will give the watching public its first proper glimpse of the famed course. It’s a shame the event will steal some of the Walker Cup’s thunder in this regard but hopefully it will go some way to whetting the appetite for more next year.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2020, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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118. The 2020 St. Andrews Trophy Match Is Cancelled

22nd April 2020

The R&A and European Golf Association have announced the cancellation of the St Andrews Trophy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The biennial international match between 9-man teams from Great Britain and Ireland and Continent of Europe was scheduled to take place at Royal Porthcawl on 23-24 July 2020.

The Continent of Europe were defending the St. Andrews Trophy having won it 15.5-9.5 at Linna Golf in Finland in 2018.

The match will next be played at Penati in Slovakia on 21-22 July 2022.

Royal Porthcawl G.C. (Photo: golfadvisor.com)

The cancellation, which had become inevitable in recent weeks, adds to the difficulties GB&I were already seeking to overcome in preparing for the 2021 Walker Cup match.

The Walker Cup is being contested next year at Seminole, Florida on 8-9 May so the GB&I selectors were faced with the prospect of having to choose a team without the normal benefit of having seen all of their players compete throughout the European amateur season.

The COVID-19 pandemic has now added to the challenge as it appears they are unexpectedly also going to lose out on evidence from a great deal of the 2020 season.

The copycat St. Andrews Trophy event, played in alternate years to the Walker Cup, provides an excellent early opportunity for GB&I to build team spirit and develop foursomes partnerships against top class opposition so represents a particular loss.

The 2020 St. Andrews Trophy match was also set to be Stuart Wilson’s first outing as GB&I men’s team captain.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2020, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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