The Walker Cup: An Interview with USA Captain Bob Lewis
23 Jun 2005
see also: The Walker Cup, Los Angeles Country Club - North Course


Bob Lewis is the Captain of the U.S. Walker Cup team, set to play against Great Britain and Ireland on August 13-14. The Walker Cup is a biennial competition which rotates between venues in Great Britain and Ireland and the United States. The U.S. team has lost the last two matches.

Lewis, 61, of Pepper Pike, Ohio, played on four victorious Walker Cup teams for the USA – in 1981, 1983, 1985 and 1987. He compiled a career 5-2 record in both singles and foursomes play. Lewis was selected as captain of the 2003 USA Walker Cup team which lost a tough competition, 12 ½ to 11 ½ at Ganton, England. In USGA competition, Lewis’ record has been stellar; he has been a runner-up three times in the U.S. amateur and twice in the Mid-Amateur. He played the PGA Tour from 1970-74 and has since been reinstated as an amateur and qualified for the last three USGA Senior Amateurs. Lewis is president and chief operating officer of Welded Tubes, Inc., a manufacturer of welded steel tubing, a company founded by his father in 1958.

Pete Wlodkowski of amateurgolf.com spoke to Bob Lewis on June 21st.

Q: Can you sum up the last Walker Cup?

A: It was a tough loss, where the singles matches really did us in on the last day. The difference came down to putting in those final key matches. It's funny because we used to really dominate those final day singles matches.

Q: We won’t ask you about your selections, unless you want to give any away. But can you tell us the likely announcement schedule and some of your criteria for selection?

A : The USGA has its own internal points system, where events are tracked in the two year period between Walker Cups. There is a large emphasis, obviously, on the major USGA events like the Amateur, The Open, and The Publinx, and recent performances are important. We should have the team in order by late July. I have gotten to know all of the hopefuls quite well and I feel very confident about the chances of the potential group.

Q: What changes have you implemented to improve the USA's chances of winning The Walker Cup?

A: We're trying to do a better job of building the camaraderie and team aspect of representing the USA in The Walker Cup. We started a practice session for Walker Cup hopefuls prior to the 2003 event, and we really pulled it together this year when we did a practice session at Old Memorial in Tampa for 24 players. Bob Rotella was there. We played a few different formats and allowed players to get to know each other. It's basically "check your egos at the door, and play as a team." 8 of those 24 players were members of the Palmer Cup team (results) that just defeated their European counterparts. That's a good sign.

Q: How significant was Matt Every's low amateur finish at the U.S. Open?

A: Very. When a player goes all the way through sectional qualifying and plays that well at a course like Pinehurst in U.S. Open conditions, that bodes well for his chances of being part of the team.

Q: What about Chicago Golf Club?

A: It's relatively short, with fast greens that are going to require being in the right places. It's got a lot of links qualities. Even though it's not long, players with length will have an advantage with their approach shots, given the premium on being in the right spot on the greens.

Q: How is your game these days?

A: Well, that's funny, because I've only entered three tournaments lately and I've won all three. We just won the Pine Valley Member-Guest, and prior to that I won the Travis Invitational in the overall division, and the senior division of the Coleman Invitational at Seminole. But I won't be playing too much between now and August.

Q: What will you be focusing on between now and The Walker Cup on August 13-14?

A: There are three events in July, The Southern Amateur, The Players Amateur, and The USGA Publinx. Those will be important as we come down to the wire of selections. We should have the team announced in that timeframe.

Q: Thanks for your time, and good luck at Chicago Golf Club. amateurgolf.com will be there covering!

A: You're welcome.

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From the players with complete profiles we will draw one first prize winner who will win tickets for two to the Walker Cup at Chicago Golf Club this August 13-14, 2005. (6) Second prize winners will receive the UST iRod shaft of their choice, for a driver or hybrid club (hey, it's the number one Hybrid shaft on Tour!) and (6) Third prize winners will receive a beautiful wind shirt from Fidra Golf.

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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.

The USA leads the overall series 35-8-1.

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