Aiming for transparency and clarity, the USGA on Thursday announced several changes to the selection process for international team competitions.
The most notable change will be the move to automatic selections for the U.S. squads in the World Amateur Team Championships, Walker Cup and Curtis Cup. The U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur winners, as well as the No. 1-ranked men’s and women’s players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, will be automatically selected to be a part of each applicable team, given that they remain amateurs and are U.S. citizens.
Another key change to the Walker and Curtis cups will be that the top three ranked Americans in the WAGR will be given spots as well.
For the remaining selections, the USGA offered some clues in what criteria the committee will use to make their picks. The primary emphasis will be on playing accomplishments, rankings and awards over the past 24 months, with a keen eye on results in USGA events.
It was also announced that there will be at least one mid-amateur player selected for the U.S. Walker Cup team, reaffirming recent practice.
“Adding these elements of transparency to our selections helps players understand the process and aspire to earn coveted spots on these top teams,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director of championships & governance. “Representing your country in team competitions is one of golf’s highest honors and among the best experiences of a player’s career, and we want excellence to be rewarded.”
There have been some questions in the past about the USGA’s selection process for team events, notably for last year’s Walker Cup when Sam Burns, the NCAA Division I Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year, was left off the team.
The revised guidelines will apply starting with the the 2018 World Amateur Team Championships. The women’s championship will be conducted Aug. 29-Sept. 1 at Carton House Golf Club in Dublin, Ireland, followed by the men’s event Sept. 5-8 at the same location. They subsequently will apply to the 2019 Walker Cup at Royal Liverpool and the 2020 Curtis Cup at Conwy Golf Club in Wales.