Beginning this year, the U.S. Golf Association will require that at least two of the 10 players on the U.S. Walker Cup squad must be mid-amateurs (25 and older).
Said Thomas J. O’Toole Jr., the USGA vice president and championship committee chairman: “Mid-amateurs, who are seasoned players, are likely to bring a unique perspective to a team and demonstrate, as well as appreciate, the characteristics of leadership and generosity of spirit that are central to the Walker Cup. It is the positive influence mid-amateurs will have on the Walker Cup experience and our strong commitment to amateur golf that causes us to reach this determination.”
The 44th Walker Cup will be played at National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y., in early September. The U.S., which has not lost on home soil since 2001, has an all-time record of 34-8-1 in the event.
The idea of more mid-am participation has reportedly been on the table for several years. The R&A told Global Golf Post that it has no current plans to implement a similar policy for the Great Britain and Ireland squad.
Nathan Smith, a record four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, has played in two Walker Cup matches.