"Has the USGA shown an indifference to winning, and thus cheapened the best event in amateur golf, in order to celebrate the traditions of the game?"
Ryan Lavner at GolfChannel.com files a must-read analysis of the secretive Walker Cup selection process and concludes that "the best event in amateur golf is in the midst of an identity crisis" and that the wounds are entirely self-inflicted by the USGA.
After punching holes in every statistical theory that might justify the automatic inclusion of two mid-amateurs to beef up the Team USA's supposedly weak foursomes play, Lavner takes aim at the secrecy of the selection process.
One of the many appeals of the Ryder, Presidents and Solheim cups is that players and fans alike can track the standings until the cutoff date. It’s transparent. No secrets. Either they make it on merit, or they hope for a wild-card pick.
The seven-man selection committee, meanwhile, treats the selection of the U.S. Walker Cup team like the government would issues of national security. Apparently, there is an internal system that ranks the tournaments based on strength of field, but its pseudo-points list isn't made public.
“I’m not really trying to hide anything,” Burton said. “But at the same time these are very difficult decisions, and so we would prefer to keep our process internal.”
Of course the questions this time around are certainly tainted by the mandatory mid-amateur inclusions, but they still pale in comparison to the John Peterson boondoggle of 2011 when he offered a resume but was left off the team because of his personality, then finished T4 at the 2012 U.S. Open. Here was the committee then.
I expect a penetrating rebuttal from the Global Golf Post, Fox Sports and USGA messenging teams just as soon as the Fox team learns the difference between the PGA of America and the PGA Tour. Which, should be by 2015.