On Keeping The Best American Amateurs Amateur
It was a simple two-letter word that all people have heard plenty of times throughout their lives. But that didn’t make it any less jarring. It was a simple “no,” which in most cases was followed by a “thanks” and some further explanation. But the “no” was the kicker, the word that sent a pang of angst through some quarters of the American Walker Cup community.
The source of that angst stems from the USGA announcement last fall of the players selected to attend the December 2018 Walker Cup practice session, held in south Florida. Five prominent American college golfers declined an invitation to participate because of plans to turn pro. A sixth player declined because of an academic conflict. That caused concern from some Walker Cup followers about the future of this storied international competition pitting a team of amateurs from the United States against a squad from Great Britain and Ireland, which this year will be staged on Sept. 7-8 at Royal Liverpool in England. And it has others more than a bit irritated.
It should be pointed out that, from a common-courtesy standpoint, the five players with professional plans were doing the right thing. If they knew they weren’t remaining amateurs, they should have declined the invitation and not taken a practice squad spot from other deserving players. It also should be noted that two of the players who declined had played in the 2017 Walker Cup at Los Angeles Country Club.
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