While the U.S. Golf Association implemented a rule last month requiring at least two of the 10 members of the U.S. Walker Cup squad to be mid-amateurs (25 years or older), a man that formerly held the top spot in the organization raised questions about the decision this week.
'I applaud having mid-amateurs on the team, I think they can make it on the team on their merit,' explained David Fay, former executive director of the USGA in an interview with 'Morning Drive' Friday. 'But I don't think you needed to formalize it.'
The former head of the USGA from 1989-2010, Fay was quick to point out the significant role mid-amateurs have played on Walker Cup teams over the years without any sort of mandate requiring their presence.
'First Walker Cup I was involved with was 1981. From that time going forward, mid-amateurs have always played an important role on the Walker Cup team, whether it be Jay Sigel or Jim Holtgrieve, Allen Doyle, you could go on and on,' Fay explained. 'The intent of the competition is to take your 10 best and to play the match against a team from Great Britain & Ireland.'
The Royal & Ancient reportedly has no plan to implement a similar requirement for the team from Great Britain & Ireland, where Fay described mid-amateur golf as 'almost non-existent at a competitive level.'
'Just think about it,' he continued. 'If they beat the United States, some people might say, 'Well, they had those two mid-amateurs,' not knowing that mid-amateurs have been an essential part of the Walker Cup match going back to, at least for me, since 1981.'
A biennial competition between top amateurs from the U.S. and Great Britain & Ireland styled after the Ryder Cup, the Walker Cup will next be held this September at National Golf Links in Southampton, N.Y. The U.S. holds a 34-8-1 all-time advantage and has not lost on home soil since 2001.