Walker Cup Selections Taking Shape
The United States Golf Association
threw amateur golf a curve ball or two
when it named four players to the 2011
Walker Cup squad before the first shot in
last week’s Western Amateur had been
fired. In past years, the USGA named a
first wave of seven or eight players immediately after the Western, and the remaining few after the end of the U.S. Amateur.
The early announcement gave the
Walker Cup a nice minute of exposure
on NBC during the telecast of the Senior
Open, and it also served to stoke some
conversation among team candidates
at the Western Amateur. This change in
protocol also came about due to the fact
that the first four had clearly separated
themselves from the rest of the pack.
A shrewd move by the USGA. And then
it surprised again by naming three more
team members Sunday, rather than four,
after the Western. That announcement
raised a few eyebrows as well.
Patrick Cantlay, Peter Uihlein, Harris
English and Russell Henley were the first
four chosen, and all were easy and obvious choices. Each of them has had an outstanding year, albeit on different stages.
Cantlay had a remarkable college
campaign and then made the cut in four
professional events, taking low amateur
honors in two national championships.
Uihlein is the reigning U.S. Amateur
champion who had a great college season,
won the Northeast Amateur this summer,
and made the cut at the Open Champion-
ship. English won the Southern Amateur
and a Nationwide Tour event, while Henley
made the cut at the U.S. Open and also
won a Nationwide Tour title.
outright. He won the Players Amateur the
very next week, and came close at the
Palmetto Amateur. Only a poorly timed
bogey on the final hole of stroke-play
qualifying kept him out of the Sweet Sixteen at the Western.
The Western probably marked the end
of the line for David Chung, Scott Langley,
Blayne Barber and Bank Vongvanij. The
latter three didn’t survive the first cut at
the Western, and not one of them has a
win this summer. Something special will
have to take place at the Amateur for any
of these four to earn a trip to Aberdeen. l