From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Dan Woltman gets the Walker Cup shaft

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dan-woltman

From time to time on this blog I tend to deviate from the standard tour talk to discuss other golf issues that mean something to me. While most of you would never know it, I’ve been a huge fan of collegiate golf for a very long time. There’s something about watching these guys grow up from the time they were playing on the AJGA circuit that makes me excited to see how they progress from the first day they step on campus.

With that in mind, I figured it’d be worth noting that the Walker Cup is coming up in less than two weeks at famed Merion Golf Course in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Like many of you, I love watching these deserving amateur players battle it out on a fantastic course against an always tough Great Britain and Ireland team.

To make the team you need to be at the top of your game, and if you are, there’s a good chance your play will get you a coveted spot on the Walker Cup team. But this year it appears they’re not going strictly by the numbers. It looks like team chemistry is playing a big part.

Amateur Dan Woltman had a sizzling summer that should have been more than enough to see him make the team. But it appears that Walker Cup politics will keep a very deserving player from a chance of a lifetime.

Golfweek’s Sean Martin has the scoop:

Many thought Woltman was a lock for one of the final two spots on the team regardless of what happened at the U.S. Amateur. Woltman won this year’s Northeast Amateur, made the Sweet 16 at the Western Amateur for the second consecutive year, advanced to the Round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur and had top-10s at the Players Amateur and Sahalee Players Championship.

“I’m very surprised,” Woltman said. “I played my heart out all summer, and thought it was good enough, but in the end those guys didn’t think it was good enough.”

The U.S. Golf Association put a heavy emphasis on team camaraderie when selecting this year’s team, especially after the close-knit 2007 team won at Royal County Down.

It’s a damn shame to see Woltman miss the chance to represent his country, and from the sound of his quotes, it’d appear he’s probably a bit frustrated. He has every right to feel that way.

Here’s the brick wall standing in his way:

There’s something to be said for team chemistry. But the fact of the matter is that 18 of the 26 matches will be singles matches. A player’s relationship with his prospective teammates should be weighed, but only if he is a borderline candidate. Woltman was not one of those. He is No. 8 in the Golfweek/amateurgolf.com World Amateur Rankings.

I’ve got to say, this is the first time I’ve ever seen politics and team chemistry play a part in picking a team of amateur players. But I guess there’s a first for everything.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

09/01/2009 at 9:02 pm

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