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Walker Cup Designates Two Spots for Mid-Ams, Reduces Blairs Selection Chances

Far Hills, N.J. (Jan. 14, 2013) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced that a minimum of two mid-amateurs (players age 25 and above) will be part of the 10-member 2013 USA Walker Cup Team that will compete against a team from Great Britain and Ireland. This year’s Walker Cup Match will be contested Sept. 7-8 at the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y.
“In proposing the Walker Cup in 1921, George Herbert Walker’s original intent was to have a competition that fostered international goodwill between the USGA and The R&A,” USGA Vice President and Championship Committee Chairman Thomas J. O’Toole Jr. said. “Mid-amateurs, who are seasoned players, are likely to bring a unique perspective to a team and demonstrate, as well as appreciate, the characteristics of leadership and generosity of spirit that are central to the Walker Cup. It is the positive influence mid-amateurs will have on the Walker Cup experience and our strong commitment to amateur golf that causes us to reach this determination.”
Last month, the USGA International Team Selection Committee invited 16 golfers, including three reigning USGA champions and two mid-amateurs, to participate in an informal practice session in Naples, Fla., during which USA captain Jim Holtgrieve observed potential team members. Golfers who were not invited to the session are still candidates for the team. Utah’s Zac Blair was invited to the practice session and is in high consideration for a spot on the Walker Cup team, but this announcement lowers his chances. Before this rule change he had a one in ten chance of being selected, but now it is one in eight.
“I applaud the decision made by the USGA to include mid-amateurs in the Walker Cup,” said Holtgrieve, who played in three Walker Cups and was captain of the 2011 USA Team. “I have seen firsthand, like other past captains, the impact the mid-amateur player can have on a team. Mid-amateurs can provide the leadership and maturity that helps build team chemistry.”
The 44th Walker Cup Match returns to National Golf Links of America for the first time since it hosted the first playing of the biennial competition in 1922. The Match consists of four foursomes (alternate-shot) matches on both Saturday and Sunday morning, with eight and 10 singles matches, respectively, in the afternoons. The USA leads the overall series, 34-8-1 and has not lost on American soil since the 2001 Match at Ocean Forest Golf Club in Sea Island, Ga.