Hypocrisy of USGA Walker Cup selection committee
Now that I’ve slept on it, I have a clearer vision of the USGA Walker Cup selection committee’s hypocrisy. Here’s what we had to perceive as their premise: we value our own Amateur championship so little that we will only hold out two spots based on its results. The irony is, the player that stepped up and played out of his gourd to reach the final, did not make the team. Let’s take a look at Rickie Fowler versus Michael Thompson.
Fowler came to the final nine of his qualifier well within the number…and shot five-over par for that stretch. He bogeyed four of his final six holes to fall into the qualifying playoff, where he promptly made five to depart after one single hole. That’s the type of pressure player I want on my side. The USGA gave him a chance, and he blew it.
Contrast Fowler’s performance with that of Thompson. The University of Alabama senior played his final nine holes in one-under fashion, six strokes better than the Oklahoma State freshman. He made three birdies, including one on 18, and two bogeys down the stretch. In round one of match play, he defeated Walker Cup player Webb Simpson by going -5 for the fifteen holes of the match. In round two, he faltered a bit but escaped, playing +3 golf over 20 holes against Bryce Ledford. Round three was the same, +3 over 17 holes of a 2&1 victory over David McDaniel. The quarters broughtTh a derailment of the D-Train, the hottest player to that point in match play (Derek Fathaue) with an even-par performance through fifteen holes. A semifinal victory at +1 brought him to the finals, where he faced his second Walker Cupper in Colt Knost. Through 35 holes, Thompson played +8, which may have been his undoing. Knost was a bit better in a medal context, at +4.
It seems that the USGA set the table for a highly-ranked player to make the team, then canceled the menu. Fowler did everything wrong while Thompson did everything right, then the table was turned. If anything, this should make us feel better about our selves. The knowledge that people of power and respect make incredulous decisions might serve to legitimate our own places in the hierarchy of the world.
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