Published August 30, 2011
Tags: amateur career, amateur champion, amateur record, college golf, Mattsson blog, ncaa championships, peter uihlein, Uhlein, Walker Cup, Wie
The Walker Cup is soon here and with that possibly the biggest moment of the amateur career of the players’ taking part. This means now is the time for speculation about what will happen next. As I scan through some of the written stuff on the web this morning I come across two rather interesting articles. One is about Peter Uihlein going to qualifying school this autumn. Bearing in mind that he up until last week was the reigning US Amateur Champion with an amateur record that most could only dream about this would not be strange at all. If it wasn’t for the last bit of the article that says that even if he makes it (gets his card), he will not turn professional until after the NCAA Championships in 2012 (which he will play with his school, Oklahoma University). The only reason he is going to Q-school is that he hopes to strengthen his brand with a view to better his chances for sponsor’s invitations post June 2012. By then he will (probably) have his degree and be ready to focus entirely on his golf.
The second interesting article was about Michelle Wie taking half term a little bit early to go and play the Solheim Cup. Miss Wie is a student at Stanford, something she combines with playing the LPGA Tour. I guess just instead of playing the normal college programme that regular student-athletes would do. Quite amazing if you ask me.
Is there a lesson to be learned here? Will Peter Uihlein and Michelle Wie go on to rule the World of Golf? Quite possibly. Will they be rounded, competent people with a solid ground to stand on, both feet, no matter what they end up doing in the future? Most definitely!
Early Saturday morning in Conshohocken just outside Philadelphia I pick up a Wall Street Journal on the way to Merion Golf Club. Its weekend edition has a great article on the Walker Cup and the history behind it. In fact, a visit to the Walker Cup is a bit like a journey back in time. Started in 1922 by the visionary George Herbert Walker, the grandfather of George H.W. Bush, it was put in place to ease the International tensions that still remained after the first World War and to increase friendship both amongst competitors and across nations. I would imagine that some of the amateurs competing in those days were quite high profile people in their society so in some way, it was probably easy to see the two purposes meet. Golf nowadays is different. Most of the players are in their early twenties, eager to go on to a life in professional golf, but the values and principles of the Walker Cup remain. The people that come to watch the matches are the true lovers of the game, many of whom have spent their entire life being involved in it both as players and officials. At Merion there are no ropes surrounding the players. You walk next to the players on the fairways. And in fact, ropes are not needed as the crowd here know how to behave on a golf course. Like Rand Jerris, the lead historian and Director of Communications of the USGA says;
“We stage it on behalf of the average golfers everywhere, who play the game because they love it and aren’t out to make a living from it”. That however, does not mean that the matches are any less exciting!
Follow the action at Merion on www.walkercup.org.
It is Wentworth week again. Of all the weeks in the golfing calendar year this could be my favourite. There are not many places prettier than Wentworth at the end of May when the rhododendron is at full bloom. For some reason the weather is usually quite decent as well and it is if the tour has come home after a full winter and spring in foreign countries. This year is no different and it will be interesting to find out on Sunday night who walks away with the trophy.
In Wales the hunt for the Walker Cup places continues with the Welsh Amateur Stroke Play. The results were certainly well hidden but at least the first round scores are available here. Hopefully updates during the weekend will be displayed as well.
Having just published Peter’s Monthly for May (check the Monthly:s in the right hand panel for more) it is now time for me to take a bit of a break. I will be back again the first week of June.