Will GB&I be able to field a competitive Walker Cup team in 2017?
01 Dec 2015
by AmateurGolf.com Staff

see also: The Walker Cup, Royal Liverpool Golf Club

Nigel Edwards is concerned about the future<br>of amateur golf in GB&I<br>Golfweek photo
Nigel Edwards is concerned about the future
of amateur golf in GB&I
Golfweek photo

Something must be done to ensure the long-term success of amateur golf in Great Britain and Ireland, Nigel Edwards recently in an interview with ESPN UK.

"From England men's point of view, since the 2013 Walker Cup, we've lost 32 amateur squad players to the pro game -- that's not sustainable," Edwards told ESPN. Most of those players are now on the European Tour or the European Challenge Cup Tour, including 60% of the players who competed in the 2015 Walker Cup.

"Not all of those are going on and becoming successful players, making a living on whichever tour they choose to play. We need to retain our players in the amateur game.

"However, you can definitely understand why somebody does want to turn pro. England Golf, and other national governing bodies, want them to turn pro and be successful, but realize that can't always happen.

"I'd like to see the players maximize their opportunities with their national governing bodies first."

As director of coaching at England Golf (the governing body of English amateur golf), four-time member of the GB&I Walker Cup team and three-time coach, Edwards feels the future of amateur golf in the British Isles is unsustainable with so many players bolting to the professional ranks. With all of his accomplishments, Edwards has remained an amateur golfer.

Many of the players who have turned pro have struggled on their respective tours. Edwards would like to see them develop their game as amateurs before testing the professional waters.

"What we don't do as well in the UK is transition our young players into the pro game," Edwards added.

"If you look at the continent -- Spain, Germany, France -- they all have pro teams. This helps those players transition from amateur golf into professional golf that little bit easier because of the support they are provided with,” Edwards said.

"This is something we've got to look at and I've presented this to the board at England Golf and that's something I know they're supportive of."

The Walker Cup returns to America for 2017, being played September 9th and 10th at the prestigious Los Angeles Country Club. Edwards might return as Captain for the GB&I team, but that has yet to be worked out.

"I'd love to do it, but there are some things I'd have to get round first,” Edwards said.

"I'd have to talk to my family and England Golf. But it would be nice to do it again and win in America as a captain."

Spider Miller, the popular captain from the 2015 losing U.S. team, will be back to take the helm in 2017.

The Walker Cup Match, which began in 1922, is a 10-man amateur team competition between the USA and a team comprised of players from Great Britain and Ireland.

ABOUT THE The Walker Cup

The Walker Cup Match is a biennial 10-man amateur team competition between the USA and a team composed of players from Great Britain and Ireland and selected by The R&A. It is played over two days with 18 singles matches and eight foursomes (alternate-shot) matches.

The first United States Walker Cup Team, which in 1922 defeated the GB&I side, 8-4, at the National Golf Links of America, is considered among the best teams ever and included Francis Ouimet, Bob Jones, Charles “Chick” Evans and Jess Sweetser. Many of the game’s greatest players have taken part in Walker Cup competition, including U.S. Open champions Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth for the USA and Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose for Great Britain and Ireland.

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