2002: A first: USGA to hold practice for Walker Cup hopefuls
Far Hills, N.J.
The United States leads the Walker Cup competition, 31-6-1, but it has lost the last two matches against Great Britain & Ireland. The U.S. team is determined to right the ship, even if it means taking a cue from its opponent.
The U.S. Golf Association announced Oct. 2 that it has invited 23 top amateurs to participate in a three-day practice session for the 2003 Walker Cup match. The practice session is scheduled for Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at Berkeley Hall Club near Hilton Head, S.C.
This is the first time the USGA will host a practice session to help determine who is selected for the Walker Cup team that will face GB&I Sept. 6-7 at the Ganton Golf Club in North Yorkshire, England. The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which selects the GB&I squad, previously has conducted similar practice sessions.
“We are trying to develop the strongest 2003 squad we can and this will be a wonderful opportunity for the players to meet,” said Fred Ridley, USGA vice president and chairman of the USGA international team selection committee.
Ridley said the players invited are among the top contenders for a spot on the Walker Cup team, but final selections have not been made. Players who have not been chosen to attend this practice session can still earn a place on the 10-member team based on performances in future competition.
The players who received invitations to the practice session have won 11 USGA championships, including this year’s U.S. Amateur champion Ricky Barnes, U.S. Junior Amateur champion Charlie Beljan, U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Ryan Moore and U.S. Mid-Amateur champion George Zahringer.
Bob Lewis Jr. of Pepper Pike, Ohio, is captain of the 2003 squad.
– Staff and wire reports