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« "You wonder, though, if it also might become an issue down the road." | Main | Kraft Wins U.S. Amateur; Driveable Four Plays Huge Role »

The Wildest, Wackiest And Worst Walker Cup Omission Ever?

Ron Balicki runs down this year's Walker Cup selections by the USGA and captain Jim Holtgrieve. Even as a distant admirer of the race to make the team, all I can do is shake my head and wonder what John Peterson had to do to make the team.

After losing in extra holes in this year's U.S. Amateur sweet 16, the recent NCAA Men's Golf and Jones Cup winner and world No. 7 is the same player who missed winning the Nationwide Tour's prestigious Children's Hospital Invitational by a stroke this summer.

The obvious red flag recipient of a spot on the team is Blayne Barber of Lake City, Florida who lost in the first round of last week's U.S. Amateur. Balicki:

Barber, 21, who will be a junior at Auburn this season, was a member of this year’s Palmer Cup team (2-1-1). Before transferring to Auburn, he was the Conference USA player and freshman of the year and second team All-America while at Central Florida. This summer he was fifth at the Southern Am and third at the Northeast Am and was an alternate for the U.S. Open. In 2010, he advanced to the Sweet 16 at the Western and North & South Amateurs and had top-10 finishes at the Players, Terra Cotta, Azalea and Jones Cup.

Nice resume and I'm sure a fine, patriotic American, but not even coming close to Peterson, who was high on Sean Martin's Walker Cup watch list just a month ago.

The skinny: Peterson’s final-hole bogey cost him last week’s Nationwide Tour event, but it did clinch him a Walker Cup spot. There’s no way the selectors can leave off Peterson, who also won this year’s NCAA Championship and Jones Cup.

Oh yes there is! This is the USGA. They have a track record here.

The most embarrassing part of the saga is Peterson's place on the USGA/R&A's own World Amateur Ranking: No. 7.

Barber just dropped to 55th.

This is Lanny-picks-Curtis bad.  No, it's much worse.

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Reader Comments (21)

I , too, felt John earned a spot and Corbin Mills deserved consideration. All in all, though, a pretty good squad. Best of luck to Jim and his team at Aberdeen!!
08.29.2011 | Unregistered Commenterpete blaisdell
It seems as though someone always gets royally screwed. This year it was John Peterson, other years it has been Luke List, Paul Simson and others. I honestly thought they would pick Scott Langley, not that he was legit but they seemed to really like him. I can promise you someone on the committee just didn't care for John Peterson and didn't care much for Corbin Mills either.
What would you expect from an organization where the captain has no vote as to who makes the team?
08.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJPB
Was Peterson liked by his fellow players? Just trying to think of possible reasons for such a stupid oversight.
08.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy
While there were a number of very good players in consideration for the final three spots, one has to read into the Peterson omission as "poor chemistry" with other team members. This is highlighted by the fact that he wasn't even named the first alternate (Andrew Yun-Chandler, AZ).
08.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCommitteeman
Kraft's win left someone off the team, because obviously he would not have been picked if Cantlay had won. All in all a solid team, should be fun to watch.
08.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRandall
@ Jeremy, that has to be the reason. A couple years ago when Peter Uihlein was picked over another kid with a MUCH better track record (cannot remember the name of the other kid) that was ultimately the reason why.

Hope the USGA never needs a favor from Peterson. ABout the only thing I can think of is maybe they think Barber will be able to play again in 2013?

Regardless, given the #7 ranking vs. #55, the pick is in no way defensible.....just a pitiful result.

Maybe Freddie was doing the picking?!?
08.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
This seems very similar to Snedeker, and Woltman from prior years.
08.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKC
This is much ado about nothing. Peterson's turning pro. No snub. No conspiracy. Move along please. Have a nice day.
08.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichael C.
Michael C.
Peterson remained an amateur to be considered for the team. Check out Ryan Herrington's item in Golf World Monday. This will have a chilling effect on future players in similar situations.
08.29.2011 | Registered CommenterGeoff
I can only assume that their is a character, team chemistry issue. The same would apply to Patrick Reed from Augusta State, who was at least smart enough to turn pro. Peterson's crazy comments about the top 20 college players could beat top 20 PGA Tour players sort of proves that there's a screw loose. And he also dragged down Harris English with those comments, a kid that is as polite and gentlemanly as they come.
08.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRM
Just further evidence that it's the world against LSU! Geaux TIgers!!!
08.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid P
@ RM, what's wrong with Patrick Reed? By all accounts his teammates and coaches absolutely love the guy...
08.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Michael C isn't very smart ... Peterson was royally screwed by USGA. Peterson is still an amateur ... he won't be a "pro" until he plays in a pro event .. .not sure when that will be. USGA cost Peterson a bunch of money. Had they told him he wasn't going to be on the team, he could have gotten in several pro tournaments over the summer and made some money. USGA is clueless.
08.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMissip Pro
The WAGA rankings are a joke. rankings are better aligned with reality. He's got Barber at 13...still behind Peterson at 7, no doubt, who is definitely deserving.

Just saying Barber is a lot stronger choice than the WAGA rankings would have you believe
08.29.2011 | Unregistered Commenterme
I have no knowledge of the situation and made my post after reading Ryan Ballengee's post for NBC Sports ( The Golf World article is far more instructive and I stand corrected.

On a related note, I had the pleasure of meeting Buddy Marucci, the U.S. Walker Cup team captain for the last two contests, when he participated in last year's U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee. A very nice man who noted that among all his achievements during his stellar career that being Walker Cup captain was the one he most treasured.
08.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichael C.
Someone (Geoff) needs to ask Steve Smyers what he has against Peterson...
08.29.2011 | Unregistered Commenterillinigolf
Peterson's omission may be the most egregious in the history of the USGA' Walker Cup selection process. This was about personality not about game. What's remarkable that, believe it or not, there have been guys before him that have not been particularly well liked as well that got picked and had poorer records than Peterson. Guys, he won the NCAA Championship, the best field in amateur golf, and finished runner-up in the best field on the Nationwide tour. Patrick Reed would have been an even bigger problem. Steve Smyers, when interviewed by GolfWeek said the process was subjective and listed chemistry fifth on a list behind the players record. Blayne Barbers record this spring and summer is not close to Petersons. The fact the players were never called and found out first on GolfWeek is a embarrassment and shows a lack of class and guts. When players commit the time and money to chase a dream they deserve a better process and some modicum of respect. This did not happen here.
08.29.2011 | Unregistered Commenterhazard
@ hazard....well said. The USGA continues to re-enforce the undeniable fact that they are a classless organization.

Can we get a Letter from Saugerties on the topic -- please?!?
08.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
I can't wait to get to Aberdeen!
08.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterArdmoreari
Del, Let's jut say Reed was no prize at Georgia and was shown the door. Why do you think a player of his talents would go from Georgia to Augusta State? I can assure you Augusta State's victory over his former teammates in this year's NCAA was a very bitter pill to swallow for UGA. By all accounts Reed has gotten his act together, but there would have been a reputation to overcome had he remained an amateur for The Walker Cup. I'll be curious to see how long until he steps in it as a pro.
08.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRM
If you think the US team selection was bad , GB & I is by far worse. David Law winner of the scottish amateur and recent winner of the Aberdeen Asset Northern Open ( 14 under) , 90th in the amateur rankings and is a member at Royal Aberdeen , winning the scottish boys there in 2009 , is being snubbed for a player 100 places below him in the rankings and who has no sort of form coming into the walker cup. On a bright note , he is playing in the KLM open this week.
09.5.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan Booth

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