2016 World Amateur Team Championship – Preview

18th and 20th September 2016 

The draws for rounds 1 and 2 of the 2016 Men’s WATC have been released today – Eisenhower Trophy Pairings

I posed the question on Sunday evening as to whether a home nation team could win the event ? Having now looked through all of the teams I genuinely believe they can.

The WATC’s stroke play format is of course uncompromising. With two scores from three counting on each of the four days there is little room for manoeuvre when the competition is so strong.

On balance AUSTRALIA must start as my favourites. Their team of Cameron DAVIS, Harrison ENDYCOTT and Curtis LUCK is probably the best on paper.

I think SCOTLAND (Grant FORREST, Robert MACINYTRE and Connor SYME) are not far behind them and expect them to finish in the Top 5, as a minimum.

The other two teams that stand out for me are ITALY and FRANCE – in that order. Italy have Luca CIANCHETTI, Stefano MAZZOLI and Guido MIGLIOZZI, all experienced players and winners. France include Ugo COUSSARD, Jeremy GANDON and Antoine ROZNER and should therefore also score well. 

ENGLAND (Jamie BOWER, Scott GREGORY and Alfie PLANT) and IRELAND (Stuart GREHAN, Jack HUME, Paul MCBRIDE) should also do well but I am not sure they are quite of the calibre of the four teams mentioned above.

My view on England may be being tarnished by the omission of Sam HORSFIELD though. Whilst I understand this decision it is a disappointment to me that the World’s, and therefore GB&I’s, No.1 amateur is not competing in this prestigious event.

WALES, consisting of David BOOTE, Joshua DAVIES and Owen EDWARDS, could be a surprise package. Boote’s score should be assured but Davies and Edwards are a bit more hit and miss. If they both have good weeks, which they are more than capable of, then I can see a good result for them.

What makes 2016 such a good opportunity for the home nations in my eyes is the fact that the USA team is far from inspiring. The USA have won 15 of the previous 29 WATC and have only finished outside the top 3 on four occasions. Fortunately for the rest of the world there is no Bryson DECHAMBEAU and Beau HOSSLER to worry about this time. I don’t think their team of Brad DALKE, Maverick MCNEALY and Scottie SCHEFFLER will win in 2016 and frankly I think they will do very well to place.

ME.

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18th September 2016

The 30th Men’s World Amateur Team Championship (WATC) will be played this week, between Wednesday 21st and Saturday 24th September 2016.

The WATC is a biennial international amateur golf competition run by the International Golf Federation (IGF). This year a record equalling 72 teams have entered.

The competition moves in turns between Asia-Pacific, the Americas and Europe-Africa. In 2018 the WATC will be hosted by the Golf Union of Ireland and held at Carton House, near Dublin.

The first WATC took place in 1958 and was played over the Old Course at St. Andrews. Bobby Jones captained the U.S.A.,famously receiving the Freedom of the Town during the trip, although his team ended up losing a play-off to Australia for the first ever title.

The 2016 WATC
This year’s WATC is being hosted by the Mexican Golf Federation.

The Mayakoba El Camaleón and the Iberostar Playa Paraiso golf courses are to be used in Riviera Maya, near the holiday resort of Cancun. Both courses opened in 2005.

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Mayakoba El Camaleón Golf Course, Mexico (Photo: PGA Tour)

The El Camaleón course was designed by Greg Norman and will play 6,988 yards to a par of 71. Playa Paraiso, designed by P.B. Dye, is shorter at 6,771 yards but has a par of 72. Clearly the emphasis will be on making a score on the latter.

Competition Format
Teams of three players play 72 holes of stroke play over four days. The two lowest rounds recorded on each day count towards the team’s total score. The winning team receive the Eisenhower Trophy.

The U.S.A. are the defending champions. In 2014 their team of Bryson DECHAMBEAU, Beau HOSSLER and Denny MCCARTHY scored 534 (-38) in Karuizawa, Japan to beat Canada by 2-shots.

2014 Eisenhower Trophy

The 2016 USA Team (Photo: IGF)

Whilst individual results are reported and the player with the lowest score is recognised at the closing ceremony there is no prize awarded for the honour. In 2014 Spain’s Jon RAHM ‘won’ the Individual with a record breaking 263 (-23) total.

The historic WATC results are provided in an Appendix at the end of this article.

GB&I Competitors
Each of the home nations will be represented in 2016 with the following players having been selected: –

ENGLAND
Jamie BOWER (23), Scott GREGORY (21) and Alfie PLANT (24)

IRELAND
Stuart GREHAN (23), Jack HUME (22) and Paul MCBRIDE (20)

SCOTLAND
Grant FORREST (23), Robert MACINTYRE (20) and Connor SYME (21)

WALES
David BOOTE, Joshua DAVIES and Owen EDWARDS

Good luck to all of the home nation teams competing in Mexico this week.


The Eisenhower Trophy (Photo: USGA)

Appendix – Historic Results

Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) have won the Eisenhower Trophy four times but only Scotland have won it in their own right since each of the home nations started to compete separately.

The competion holds a special place in the story of English amateur Peter MCEVOY. He participated in the winning GB&I team in 1988, he also ‘won’ the Individual (284) that year and he went on to captain the GB&I team that won it again in 1998.  A hat trick of Eisenhower Trophy achievements that may prove difficult for anyone else to match.

Here is the full list of historic results: –

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ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Walker Cup 2015 – Team USA (2)

24th August 2015

Last night following the completion of the U.S. Amateur Championship the USGA’s International Team Selection Committee and Captain John “Spider” Miller finalised the 2015 USA Walker Cup team.

US Walker Cup Logo 2015

On the 10th August 2015 the USGA named the first five members of their team.  These players and their World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) and Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings (SPWAR) on the date of this announcement were: –

Bryson DeChambeau (21)  – WAGR 8 / SPWAR 1
Beau Hossler (20)               – WAGR 9 / SPWAR 5
Lee McCoy (21)                   – WAGR 6 / SPWAR 15
Maverick McNealy (19)       – WAGR 3 / SPWAR 22
Hunter Stewart (22)            – WAGR 5 / SPWAR 4

All five attended the December 2014 Squad Session and have enjoyed strong playing seasons.  Of course DeChambeau also went on to win the U.S. Amateur in convincing fashion yesterday.

US WC Team Photo 1

Bryson DeChambeau, Beau Hossler, Lee McCoy and Maverick McNealy

The remaining members of the USA team were confirmed late last night.  These players and their WAGR and SPWAR rankings as of yesterday were: –

Scott Harvey (37)               – WAGR 98 / SPWAR 78
Denny McCarthy (22)        – WAGR 10 / SPWAR 6
Mike McCoy (52)                – WAGR 202 / SPWAR 167
Jordan Niebrugge (22)      – WAGR 17 / SPWAR 3
Robby Shelton (19)           – WAGR 8 / SPWAR 2

US WC Team Photo 2

Hunter Stewart, Scott Harvey, Denny McCarthy and Mike McCoy

The final U.S. Amateur selections were as expected. The only minor surprise here was the selection of Mike McCoy as the second Mid-Amateur, where Nathan Smith, who played in 2013, was a very credible alternative. I have heard it said that the USGA were keen to get McCoy on this team as he is considered a potential future U.S. Captain (of which there are few on either side) and at 52 this was almost certainly his last chance to make his debut.

I admire the USGA for sticking with their policy of two Mid-Amateur selections.  However, it does, at least on paper, weaken their team.  As of yesterday there were respectively 36 and 73 other U.S. Players (not already selected) ahead of Scott Harvey and Mike McCoy in the WAGR.

Two Alternates (Reserves) were also confirmed: –

Matt NeSmith (21)             – WAGR 21 / SPWAR 11
Scottie Scheffler (19)        – WAGR 15 / SPWAR 17

US WC Team Photo 3

Jordan Niebrugge, Robby Shelton, Matt NeSmith and Scottie Scheffler

Here’s how the final US Team rates according to the current World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) and Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings (SPWAR): –

US Walker Cup Team 240815

A formidable team on paper it will be interesting to see how they play at Royal Lytham in a few weeks time.  The Team are scheduled to meet up for a final training session at Latrobe Country Club next week where Arnold Palmer will be their host.

Fore more information on the Walker Cup and the two teams click here – Walker Cup

Copyright © 2015, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.