MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA, Mass. – Sally Watson walked off the 13th green at Essex County Club and made a beeline for her father’s strong arms. She’d just been the victim of an absolute drumming by 15-year-old Alexis Thompson at the 36th Curtis Cup and the tears fell hard. Graham Watson spoke words of encouragement into his daughter’s ear as she buried her face in his shoulder.
Some time later a more composed Watson watched her teammates try to put more points on the board, though a USA victory had long been decided.
“We’re playing too high of a standard of golf to not play well and expect to win,” said Watson, who lost, 6 and 5, to Thompson. “I can’t really make excuses. I didn’t perform.”
Watson is the lone veteran of the GB&I team and might actually play a third Curtis Cup before her amateur career is over. She’s the perfect one to ask if it’s time for Europe to join the party. The overall Curtis Cup record is a lopsided 27-6-3.
“They asked the question last time, too,” Watson said. “Obviously, we are at a disadvantage being so much smaller than America. But like Danielle (McVeigh) said, the Curtis Cup is traditionally GB&I and America.”
Watson can see a new event forming before anyone makes a move to change the Curtis Cup. With young players turning professional on both sides of the pond at alarmingly young ages, it’s unusual that someone lasts long enough to play in the Cup more than once. McVeigh said many GB&I players look at it as “one of the milestones on the way to professional golf.”
It seems GB&I is comfortable coming into each year the little-known underdogs with a hope of victory. They obviously don’t like losing, as evidenced by Watson’s tears. But they’d rather see Team USA’s consecutive winning streak go to seven than add the rest of Europe to the fray.
It saves tradition. But it also assures them a chance to play.