While there was a backlash from some over-25-year-olds, the USGA's abandonment of two automatic mid-amateur Walker Cup team slots will actually turn out to be a positive for the mid-am world. Bear with me geezers before you angrily comment.
Jim Nugent revealed in Global Golf Post that the automatic two-spots--another lousy idea from the lousy Tom O'Toole USGA days--will be abandoned.
There is some irony in yet another impeccably-timed USGA move (given that 26-year-old Stewart Hagestad was low amateur at the Masters and may be America's top amateur right now).
Given the depleted college ranks this year, the 2017 team has a chance to see at least two mid-ams without the requirement. Or maybe more.
While the concept was probably well-intentioned it should never have been enacted and remained an unwritten rule. That didn't stop some mid-ams from complaining. From Ryan Lavner's GolfChannel.com assessment:
That prompted passionate responses on social media from 2015 Walker Cupper Scott Harvey, who tweeted that it was “very, very sad” for mid-ams, and fellow mid-am Patrick Christovich, who said that the “USGA is probably a big fan of the One-and-done college basketball rule too…Support the ‘Real Amateurs’ and the game will grow.”
While I get that reaction, ultimately the requirement suggested that mid-ams needed help making the team. But without that crutch the mid-amateurs who make the team will actually receive even more respect. They will stand out less as recipients of a special exemption, and fit in more naturally as U.S. Walker Cup team members.