On 5th July 2018 the USGA announced changes to its team selection process.
We were advised that future 10-man USA Walker Cup teams would now be selected in two parts:–
1. a) The top 3 ranked U.S.A. players in the WAGR (prior to the U.S. Amateur)*.
2. a) The 2019 U.S. Amateur champion*;
2. b) The 2019 Mark H. McCormack Medal winner (Men’s WAGRTM No. 1 / announced immediately after the U.S. Amateur Championship*; and
2. c) The remaining selections, which will include at least one mid-amateur (25 years and older) player, will be decided by the USGA’s International Team Selection Committee (ITSC).
*subject to the respective players being U.S. citizens and / or remaining amateur these individuals will now be automatically selected.
Clearly this policy will need to be updated ahead of the 2021 match which is going to be played in early May.
Selection is primarily driven by playing ability, with particular emphasis on USGA Championships, and world rankings. The USGA maintains an unpublished points system to assist the ITSC with these selections. The Committee are always keen to point out that integrity, team skills and good sportsmanship are important factors too.
John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director of Championships & Governance, said on the July 2018 changes: “Adding these elements of transparency to our selections helps players understand the process and aspire to earn coveted spots on these top teams.”
USGA International Team Selection Committee
The USGA’s 10 person International Team Selection (ITS) Committee selects the U.S.A. team.
Martha Lang has been Chairman of the ITS Committee since February 2018. The former Curtis Cup player (1992) and captain (1996) from Alabama is the first women to Chair the ITS Committee but is one of a number to have previously sat on it.
Surprisingly the U.S. Captain, Nathanial Crosby, does not sit on the Committee and whilst he obviously advises and recommends players that is said to be the extent of his input into the team selection process.
Mid-Amateur Selection Policy
Nowadays there appears to be an ongoing debate within the USGA on the role Mid-Amateurs (over 25’s) should play in the U.S.A. Walker Cup team.
2011 and ’13 captain Jim Holtgrieve first suggested to the USGA that it may be beneficial for the mid-amateur community to have a clear Walker Cup incentive.
The USGA accepted this and in 2013 formally committed to including two mid-amateurs in all of their future Walker Cup teams.
However, after disappointing mid-amateur results in the 2013 and 2015 matches and some senior executive changes the USGA let it be known in April 2017 that they planned to soften this selection policy. The commitment was reduced to one and it was made clear that mid-amateur picks would need to have proven themselves in elite amateur competition during the year of the match.
The July 2018 tweak outlined above reaffirmed the single Mid-Amateur player commitment.
Copyright © 2015-2020, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.