The Walker Cup
Inaugurated in 1921, the Walker Cup is a tournament between amateur teams from the United States and the British Isles. It was proposed by George H Walker, then president of the USGA, as the International Challenge Trophy and meant as a tournament with many nations competing. However, only the R&A were willing to put together a team, representing Great Britain and Ireland, to challenge the Americans. It took its present name in 1922 after the British press reported it as the Walker Cup. It became a biennial event in 1924.
The teams are made up of 8 players, two substitutes and a captain. The R&A selects the European team while the USGA selects the American one. The format is four foursomes plus eight singles matches played over two days. The hosting of the event alternates between both sides of the Atlantic and has been played on some of the finest courses in the world.
The event has been a walkover for the Americans ever since its inception with only four European victories to date. There can therefore be little doubt that the European side must include players from continental Europe. This would undoubtedly help to address this imbalance in the way that the Ryder Cup itself was revolutionised. It also focuses the mind on the different emphasis given to amateur golf on both sides of the Atlantic.
However none of this detracts from the drama that is the Walker Cup. It has seen many of the greatest names in golf including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Kite, Colin Montgomerie and Sandy Lyle. Its tradition coupled with the superb golf makes it one of the greatest golf tournaments today.