Singles matches upped at Walker Cup

TULSA, Okla. – The USGA is pretty good at keeping secrets, especially, it seems, when it comes to the Walker Cup and its selection process.

Here’s another one I just happened to stumble upon today. This year’s match against Great Britain & Ireland Sept. 12-13 at Merion Golf Club will have a new look in the final day singles matches.

In the past, the competition would come to an end with eight singles matches, which in turn left two players on each side sitting out. This time around, all 10 will play in that final singles sessions, increasing the total points available from 24 to 26.

This was something I have long promoted and written about as it always seemed crazy to have two of your players not in the final stretch. Heck, one year, the GB&I team had a player that never hit a shot in the competition. That no longer will be a possibility. You have 10, you play 10 – at least in the ending singles session.

This was also something I know former U.S. captain Bob Lewis (2003 and 2005) was quite vocal about. He lobbied for the 10-player finish.

While I applaud the change, I still have to wonder why the USGA did not make it more publicly known. I noticed it when looking at the schedule of play for this year’s Walker Cup, which was given to me Monday at the U.S. Amateur in Tulsa. At first I thought it was a typo.

I asked a number of people who follow amateur golf, and the Walker Cup, closely and none had heard anything about it. In fact, from what I understand, there were a lot of people even within the USGA who until only recently were not aware of the change.

I’ve heard the USGA and R&A agreed on the change shortly after the 2007 Walker Cup in Ireland. Maybe they didn’t think it is that big of a deal or the media just wouldn’t be that interested.

Well I’m interested and you better believe those extra two points could very well be a huge deal this year.

Simply consider this: the last three Walker Cups finished with identical 12 1/2 to 11 1/2 decisions, with the U.S. winning the last two.

What we have this year is four foursome (alternate shot) matches both Saturday and Sunday mornings. There will be eight singles matches Saturday afternoon and 10 on Sunday.

The Walker Cup is one of the most exciting events in golf. This new addition of two singles matches is only going to make it better.

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