Thanks to reader Brian for noticing this Jim McCabe rant:
Oh, they've got two picks left and can easily make amends, but US Golf Association officials have committed a terrible oversight. Shame on them for overlooking Drew Weaver with one of the first eight picks for the upcoming Walker Cup team.
Weaver is merely the best amateur golf story of the year, a quality kid with a superb game. The problem is, USGA officials merely look at a small, insulated picture that revolves around their own tournaments.
No, Weaver didn't win the US Public Links Championship. Colt Knost took that honor. He won something miles more impressive: The British Amateur.
No, Weaver didn't qualify for the US Open. He qualified for the British Open, which will forever be older, richer in flavor, and better in scope than the US Open.
No, Weaver doesn't have the luxury of the plush, inner-circle network connections such as Trip Kuehne. He merely has hard-earned results under trying circumstances.
As a sophomore at Virginia Tech, Weaver was within a couple of hundred yards of the tragedy that unfolded April 16 -- a gunman opened fire and when the bloodshed was over, 33 people were dead. In the aftermath of such horror, it would have been easy to crumble emotionally, but Weaver didn't. He saw in golf a chance to help heal deep wounds and even though snobbish amateur tournaments in the United States didn't open up for Weaver, he was undaunted. He did what many American kids would never consider -- he took on the challenge of questionable weather and links golf.
As for how he met the challenge, take note that Weaver won, which got him into the British Open at Carnoustie where he nearly made the cut. Oh, and for added reference, he and his Virginia Tech teammates found the inner strength to finish as co-Atlantic Coast Conference champs a short time after the massacre.
All of it made for a compelling human story, only when you come out of the private clubhouses that make up the USGA world, you don't have any feel for what is real. Instead, you tighten the tie and straighten the blue blazer and ask for the list of those young men who did things the "predetermined right way" and played well in closed-shop tournaments called the Azalea, Sunnehanna, Porter, and Monroe, and, of course, let's not forget someone who 13 years ago reached the US Amateur final.
Let's see, the British Amateur champ is such a coveted title that it earns you a spot into the Masters -- but not into the Walker Cup? What in the name of Bobby Jones is that about? (As a reminder to those picking the Walker Cup team, Jones thought enough of the British Amateur to make it part of his historic Grand Slam in 1930.)
Sure, Weaver can still make the team, but officials have more or less forced him to win the US Amateur, scheduled for Aug. 20-26 at The Olympic Club. Maybe he only has to make the final, or the semifinals, or the quarterfinals, or even match play. Who knows? But the fact that he's been overlooked with one of the first eight picks is a shame.
It's enough to make you root like heck for Great Britain & Ireland when the Walker Cup tees off at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland. I'm sure Francis Ouimet -- who devoted his golf life to the Walker Cup -- would forgive you.