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
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
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
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
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.
For a website dedicated to the history of
the Walker Cup, please be sure to visit