The R&A - Working for Golf


The Walker Cup

The Walker Cup Match began in the wake of World War I with a view toward stimulating golf interest on both sides of the Atlantic. The match grew in part out of two international matches between the United States and Canada, in 1919 and 1920.

At the same time, British and American amateurs considered each nation's national amateur championship a great plum. Meanwhile, the USGA Executive Committee had been invited to Great Britain for a series of meetings with the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews Rules Committee. The meeting was to look at the advisability of modifying various rules of the game. Among the participants was George Herbert Walker, USGA President in 1920.

Upon the Executive Committee's return to the United States, international team matches were discussed. The idea so appealed to Walker that he soon presented a plan and offered to donate a trophy. Mr. Walker had been a low handicap player and was a keen advocate of the game. When the press dubbed the trophy the Walker Cup, the name stuck.

In 1921, the USGA invited all golfing nations to send teams to compete for the Cup, but no country was able to accept that year. The Americans stuck to their mission, however, and William C. Fownes, the 1910 U.S. Amateur champion, who had twice assembled the amateur teams that played against Canada, rounded up a third team in the spring of 1921 and took it to England. At Hoylake, the American team defeated a British team, 9 and 3, in an informal match the day before the British Amateur.

Early in 1922, the R & A announced that it would send a team to compete for the Walker Cup at the National Golf Links of America, Mr. Walker's home club, in Southampton, N.Y.

Originally, the competition was open to any country that might care to challenge. The USGA invited all countries to compete. Except for Great Britain, however, no other country was able to accept.

Fownes was the American captain for the inaugural match and his team consisted of Charles Evans Jr., Robert Gardner, U.S. Amateur Champion Jesse Guilford, Robert T. Jones Jr., Max Marston, Francis Ouimet, Jess Sweetser, and Rudolph Knepper, who did not play.

Robert Harris was captain of the British side, and his players were Cyril Tolley, Roger Wethered, Colin Aylmer, C.V.L. Hooman, W.B. Torrance, John Caven, and W. Willis Mackenzie. Ernest Holderness, the British Amateur Champion, was unable to make the trip.

Bernard Darwin, the golf writer of The Times of London, had accompanied the team and wound up playing in the Match. When Harris fell ill, Darwin was invited to compete in his place and serve as playing captain. He defeated Fownes, 3 and 1. The American team, however, prevailed, winning the first Walker Cup Match, 8 to 4.

Until recent years, the United States clearly dominated the series, but the number of American victories never clouded the true purpose of the Walker Cup Match. A much higher value has been placed upon the series as a medium of international friendship and understanding between the R & A and the USGA.

The Match was played on an annual basis until 1924, when it was decided that the financial strain of annual encounters was too severe. It was also believed that interest might drop if the matches were played too frequently. A decision was made to meet in alternate years.

The series was interrupted by World War II after the 1938 Match at St. Andrews, Scotland. When the Match resumed, in 1947, St. Andrews was again selected as the site. Under normal peacetime conditions, the Match would have been played in the United States, but postwar economic conditions would have made the trip difficult for the British.

The United States leads the series, 33-7-1.
Walker Cup Results

Year Date Venue Winner Score Loser Score
1922 August 28-29 The National Golf Links of America, NY USA 8 GB&I 4
1923 May 18-19 St Andrews, Fife USA 6 GB&I 5
1924 Sept 12-13 The Garden City GC, NY USA 9 GB&I 3
1926 June 2-3 St Andrews, Fife USA 6 GB&I 5
1928 August 30-31 Chicago GC, IL USA 11 GB&I 1
1930 May 15-16 Royal St George’s GC, Kent USA 10 GB&I 2
1932 Sept 1-2 The Country Club, MA USA 8 GB&I 1
1934 May 11-12 St Andrews, Fife USA 9 GB&I 2
1936 Sept 2-3 Pine Valley GC, NJ USA 9 GB&I 0
1938 June 3-4 St Andrews, Fife GB&I 7 USA 4
1947 May 16-17 St Andrews, Fife USA 8 GB&I 4
1949 August 19-20 Winged Foot GC, NY USA 10 GB&I 2
1951 May 11-12 Birkdale GC, Lancashire USA 6 GB&I 3
1953 Sept 4-5 The Kittansett, MA USA 9 GB&I 3
1955 May 20-21 St Andrews, Fife USA 10 GB&I 2
1957 August 30-31 The Minikahda Club, MN USA 8 GB&I 3
1959 May 15-16 Muirfield, East Lothian USA 9 GB&I 3
1961 Sept 1-2 Seattle GC, WA USA 11 GB&I 1
1963 May 24-25 Turnberry, Ayrshire USA 12 GB&I 8
1965 Sept 3-4 Baltimore CC, MD USA 11 GB&I 11
1967 May 19-20 Royal St George’s GC, Kent USA 13 GB&I 7
1969 August 22-23 Milwaukee CC, WI USA 10 GB&I 8
1971 May 26-27 St Andrews, Fife GB&I 13 USA 11
1973 August 24-25 The Country Club, MA USA 14 GB&I 10
1975 May 28-29 St Andrews, Fife USA 15 ½ GB&I 8 ½
1977 August 26-27 Shinnecock Hills GC, NY USA 16 GB&I 8
1979 May 30-31 Muirfield, East Lothian USA 15 ½ GB&I 8 ½
1981 August 28-29 Cypress Point Club, CA USA 15 GB&I 9
1983 May 25-26 Royal Liverpool GC, Merseyside USA 13 ½ GB&I 10 ½
1985 August 21-22 Pine Valley GC, NJ USA 13 GB&I 11
1987 May 27-28 Sunningdale GC, Berkshire USA 16 ½ GB&I 7 ½
1989 August 16-17 Peachtree GC, GA GB&I 12 ½ USA 11 ½
1991 Sept 5-6 Portmarnock GC, Co Dublin USA 14 GB&I 10
1993 August 18-19 Interlachen CC, MN USA 19 GB&I 5
1995 Sept 9-10 Royal Porthcawl GC, Mid Glamorgan GB&I 14 USA 10
1997 August 9-10 Quaker Ridge GC, NY USA 18 GB&I 6
1999 Sept 11-12 Nairn GC, Nairnshire GB&I 15 USA 9
2001 Aug 11-12 Ocean Forest GC, GA GB&I 15 USA 9
2003 Sept 6-7 Ganton GC, North Yorkshire GB&I 12 ½ USA 11 ½
2005 August 13-14 Chicago GC, IL USA 12 ½ GB&I 11 ½
2007 Sept 8-9 Royal County Down GC, Co Down USA 12 ½ GB&I 11 ½
2009 Sept 12-13 Merion GC , PA USA 16 ½ GB&I 9 ½

Note: No points were given for halved matches between 1922 and 1969. There was a total of 12 points available between 1922 and 1961 and then 24 points between 1963 and 1969.

Walker Cup Players who have won a Major:
GB & I:
Sandy Lyle
Padraig Harrington
Graeme McDowell
Rory McIlroy

Tommy Aaron
David Duval
Lucas Glover
John G Goodman
Bobby Jones
Tom Kite
Justin Leonard
W. Lawson Little
Gene A. Littler
Davis Love III
Phil Mickelson
Jack Nicklaus
Jerry Pate
Corey Pavin
Bill Rodgers
Scott Simpson
Craig Stadler
Curtis Strange
Hal Sutton
Kenneth Venturi
Lanny Wadkins
Tiger Woods

Walker Cup Players who have played in the Ryder Cup:

GB & I:
Peter Baker
Gordon Brand Jr
Paul Casey
Clive A Clark
Howard K Clark
Andrew Coltart
Luke Donald
Norman V Drew
David Gilford
Padraig Harrington
David Howell
Mark H James
Michael G King
Sandy Lyle
Paul McGinley
Rory McIlroy
Colin Montgomerie
Peter A Oosterhuis
Ronan P Rafferty
Peter M P Townsend
Philip Walton
Paul G Way

Tommy Aaron
David Duval
Brad Faxon
Rickie Fowler
Fred Haas Jr.
Jay Haas
Scott Hoch
Tom Kite
Justin Leonard
Gene Littler
Davis Love III
Phil Mickelson
Bob Murphy
Jack Nicklaus
Jerry Pate
Corey Pavin
Bill Rodgers
Mason Rudolph
Scott Simpson
Craig Stadler
Curtis Strange
Hal Sutton
Scott Verplank
Lanny Wadkins
Tiger Woods