And then there was one. That is the number the USGA’s selection process should be down to for this year’s 10-man Walker Cup team.
Previously, seven players were named to the team – Bryce Molder, Jeff Quinney, David Eger, Danny Green, John Harris, D.J. Trahan and James Driscoll. The U.S. Golf Association indicated it would name the final three selections sometime in July. Danny Yates, this year’s Walker Cup captain, said he would like to see the selection process extend even as long as through the July 25-28 Porter Cup.
As far as I’m concerned, the USGA can fill two of those remaining spots right now.
After what Lucas Glover and Erik Compton have done over the past month, it would be a disaster of mega proportions if they were left off the team that will face Great Britain & Ireland Aug. 11-12 at Ocean Forest Golf Club in Sea Island, Ga.
If there were any doubts as to their credibility for selection, Glover and Compton have put them to rest with their play during June.
Over that four-week span, both have played better than any of the seven chosen American team members.
Glover, a first-team All-American as a senior at Clemson last season, tied for 11th at the NCAA Division I Championship while he and Trahan led the Tigers to a second-place finish.
The next week he captured the Sunnehanna Amateur with a 9-under-par 271 total. He followed with a fourth-place showing at the Monroe Invitational and a tie for sixth at the Northeast Amateur. In those four events, he was a combined 16-under par.
During that same time frame, Compton, a second-team All-American as a sophomore at Georgia last season, tied for 16th at the NCAA, tied for eighth at the Sunnehanna, won the Monroe, and finished second at the Northeast, losing on the sixth playoff hole to England’s Luke Donald, a member of the victorious 1999 GB&I Walker Cup team and a shoo-in to make this year’s squad.
It should be noted that the recent Northeast Amateur contained four top-5, eight top-10 and 15 of the top-17 players in the Golfweek/Titleist Amateur Rankings.
OK, a four-week stretch does not make for total Walker Cup selection criteria. And, it shouldn’t.
So, what else do the two have on their résumés since the last Walker Cup, excluding their recent outstanding college seasons?
Glover, of Greenville, S.C., tied for third this past February at the Jones Cup, which was played on the same venue as the upcoming Walker Cup. In 2000, he tied for 17th at both Sunnehanna and Porter Cup, tied for fourth at Monroe, tied for fifth at the Northeast, and qualified for match play at the U.S. Amateur, advancing to the second round. And, for what it’s worth, he won his third consecutive South Carolina Amateur title.
Last year, Compton, of Miami, made the cut at the PGA Tour’s Doral-Ryder Open, finished second at Sunnehanna (again losing in a playoff), and won the Dixie Amateur.
Both players are 21, although Compton is older – by one day.
Glover and Compton helped lead the eight-man U.S. team to victory at the annual Palmer Cup, a Walker Cup-type competition between college players from America and Great Britain & Ireland.
Also consider that in the Golfweek/Titleist Rankings, Glover is tied for second and Compton No. 5 behind No. 1 Molder, Danny Green (tied with Glover) and No. 4 Trahan.
In a nutshell, Glover and Compton deserve to be members of this year’s U.S. Walker Cup team. Not only have they proven themselves on the course, but both would also mesh nicely with the team’s personality chemistry.
That would leave the one final spot on the squad and there are certainly a host of players that appear in contention to secure the selection. Among them are Nick Cassini, John Engler, Andy Sanders, Ryan Hybl, Billy Harvey, Kyle Thompson, Steve Sokol and Jerry Courville.
I would agree with Yates and wait until after the Porter Cup (that’s still two weeks before the Walker Cup) to make that final selection.
For now, though, just go ahead and place Glover and Compton on the team. After all, they’ve earned it.