TULSA, Okla. – Dan Woltman was obviously upset about not being selected to the U.S. Walker Cup team Sunday, but not angry.
Many thought Woltman was a lock for one of the final two spots on the team regardless of what happened at the U.S. Amateur. Woltman won this year’s Northeast Amateur, made the Sweet 16 at the Western Amateur for the second consecutive year, advanced to the Round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur and had top-10s at the Players Amateur and Sahalee Players Championship.
“I’m very surprised,” Woltman said. “I played my heart out all summer, and thought it was good enough, but in the end those guys didn’t think it was good enough.”
The U.S. Golf Association put a heavy emphasis on team camaraderie when selecting this year’s team, especially after the close-knit 2007 team won at Royal County Down.
There is speculation that that fact may have hurt Woltman, that Uihlein and Tringale were picked in part because they were better liked by the other eight members of the team. I met Woltman for the first time after the first round stroke play at the U.S. Amateur and he was polite and gracious with his time.
Steve Smyers, head of the USGA’s International Team Selection Committee, said that Uihlein and Tringale were selected for several reasons, including team chemistry.
“At the end of the day, (the Walker Cup) is a team competition,” Smyers said. “And that was a very important component, to be able to stand on the tee with your partner and have a great deal of respect, both personally, and a respect for their game. That weighed heavily in the selection process.”
There’s something to be said for team chemistry. But the fact of the matter is that 18 of the 26 matches will be singles matches. A player’s relationship with his prospective teammates should be weighed, but only if he is a borderline candidate. Woltman was not one of those. He is No. 8 in the Golfweek/amateurgolf.com World Amateur Rankings.
Woltman now has Q-School pre-qualifying to look forward to. He will play at East Valley Golf Club in Beaumont, Calif., on Sept. 15-18, just a couple days after the Walker Cup ends.