Since 2018 the USGA’s International Team Selection Working Group (ITS) has adopted a transparent three-stage approach to selecting their 10-man USA Walker Cup team:–
1. The top 3 ranked U.S.A. players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) in early summer (in 2023 the 21st June release was used).
2. Two additional players are added in late July based on their current form / WAGR.
3. a) The U.S. Amateur champion (if American);
3. b) The Mark H. McCormack Medal winner (Men’s WAGR No. 1 / announced immediately after the U.S. Amateur Championship (if American); and
3. 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).
Selection is primarily driven by playing ability, with particular emphasis on USGA Championships, and WAGR. The USGA maintains an unpublished points system to assist the ITSC with these selections.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.
A USA Walker Cup practice session is normally held in Florida in the December prior to each match with an initial squad invited to attend. Inclusion in the practice squad is of course no guarantee of a place in the final team.
The USGA selected their 2023 Walker Cup team using these guidelines: –
1. On 21st June 2023 the three highest ranked US players on WAGR received automatic selections onto the 2023 USA Walker Cup team.
Gordon SARGENT (20) #1, Michael THORBJORNSEN (21) #2 and David FORD (20) #3 all duly secured these automatic selections in June. Unfortunately on 9th August 2023 Thorbjornsen announced that he would have to withdraw from the USA team due to a stress fracture in his back.
2. Nick DUNLAP (19) and Caleb SURRATT (19) were added to the USA line-up by the ITS on 31st July 2023 on the back of their strong play over the early summer period.
3. Following completion of the U.S. Amateur Championship at Cherry Hills G.C. on 20th August 2023 the ITS confirmed the six remaining players who would complete their 2023 Walker Cup team. These were: –
Nick GABRRELCIK, 21, of Trinity, Florida
Austin GREASER, 22, of Vandalia, Ohio
Stewart HAGESTAD, 32, of Newport Beach, California (mid-amateur)
Ben JAMES, 20, of Milford, Connecticut
Dylan MENANTE, 22, of Carlsbad, California
Preston SUMMERHAYS, 21, of Scottsdale, Arizona
Maxwell MOLDOVAN, 21, of Uniontown, Ohio and Neal SHIPLEY, 23, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania were also named as the USA’s first and second alternates, respectively at this point. Moldovan and Shipley are college teammates at Ohio State University.
USA Team (Graphic: USGA)
USGA International Team Selection Working Group
The USGA’s International Team Selection Working Group (ITS) selects the U.S.A. team.
Members of the 2023 USGA Executive Committee that currently sit on the ITS Committee include Kendra Graham, Kevin Hammer, Michael McCarthy and Courtney Myhrum.
Surprisingly the U.S. Captain 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.
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