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USGA to change Walker Cup Mid-Amateur Requirements

The USGA is prepared to move away from its two mid-amateur Walker Cup minimum.

Instead they will commit to at least one mid- amateur, while leaving open the possibility of additional mid-amateurs to qualify for the team.

The commitment to two mid-amateurs began in 2013 at the National Golf Links in Southampton, NY with Nathan Smith and Todd White representing the mid-am game. Both players performed exceptionally well in 2013 with White earning the point that clinched at least a tie and Smith earning the matches clinching point in a 17-9 Team USA victory.

However, in 2015 things didn’t go as well for mid-amateurs Scott Harvey and Mike McCoy, as the duo combined for just one point during a 16.5-9.5 loss at Royal Lytham & St Annes. With that said the entire USA team struggled, thus neither player can be blamed for the loss.

Los Angeles Country Club will be the site of the 46th Walker Cup. (Photo courtesy USGA)

John Bodenhamer, the senior managing director of championships and governance for the USGA, addressed the current status regarding mid-amateurs and the Walker Cup.

“There have been some mixed perceptions. We will have mid-amateur representation, just not going to have specific numbers,” Bodenhamer said.

Bodenhamer assures the mid-amateur community that the USGA plans to involve those players over 25-years-old and will always have at least one on the team. And he acknowledges the timing is not ideal for some.

“I respect that perspective, but we felt we needed to answer the question and not have an expectation,” he said. “This is nothing more than looking at this and saying we are not going to talk about numbers. We are not going to guarantee numbers. We are going evaluate the play of the players.

“We would love nothing more than to have two or even three mid-amateurs, but to guarantee is not what the committee wants to do. I encourage everyone to watch what we do over the next couple of years. We are committed to this community. We are looking at this long-term.”

John “Spider” Miller returns as captain of the U.S. Walker Cup squad Sept. 9-10 at Los Angeles Country Club.

“It is not their attention to limit to one. Just confirming that there will be one,” Miller said. “The committee is applying some common sense and they are saying there will always be a mid-amateur.”

This year the candidates appear to be probable lock Stewart Hagestad, Walker Cup practice participant Scott Harvey, Todd White and Nathan Smith.