GB&I captures Walker Cup despite (or perhaps because of) rules violation

by Derek on September 11, 2011

in R&A,USGA,Walker Cup

Great Britain and Ireland captured the Walker Cup today for the first time since 2003.  The final score was 14-12, with the US capturing 6 1/2 of the 10 points up for grabs in today’s singles matches.

The US made a game of it, but the difference between the teams may have come down to a rules violation yesterday by one of the GB&I players.  Jack Senior, in his match with Andy Sullivan against Russell Henley and Kelly Kraft, used his brother Joe Senior, a Euro Tour player as his caddie.  The rules sheet clearly states that professional golfers are not allowed to act as caddies at the Walker Cup.

Senior and Sullivan won the match 2 & 1, and because the violation wasn’t discovered until the match results had been announced, GB&I retained the point.

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson basically claimed “no harm, no foul”:

We have consulted both team captains, we have consulted the senior officials of the United States Golf Association, and everyone is entirely happy that under the traditions and ethos of this match, that the situation should be left lie and no one but no one has any problem with that

US Captain Jim Holtgrieve played the peacemaker with his comments:

I’m fine, these guys played golf, he didn’t have any influence and I’m perfect with the decision.

I think it’s probably unlikely to suggest that having your golf professional brother on your bag doesn’t provide you with an advantage on the course.  It’s also pretty ridiculous to suggest for everybody on the GB&I side to claim they weren’t aware of the rule, given that the conditions of the competition fit on a single piece of paper.  Are we honestly expected to believe that the players and coaches didn’t actually read the single page of rules prior to the start of the matches?

If the point had been awarded to the US, all of a sudden the final score today is 13-13 and perhaps the outcome might have been quite different.  Regardless of what the officials and coaches say, this casts a serious shadow over GB&I’s victory.

[Image John Mummert/USGA]

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan September 13, 2011 at 6:14 am

Wow! A “They beat us because they cheated”, article?

Let’s face it the amateurs who play in the Walker Cup are Professionals in all but paycheck, the idea that they might get an advantage from having a pro caddy is laughable.


Derek September 13, 2011 at 9:44 am

“Let’s face it the amateurs who play in the Walker Cup are Professionals in all but paycheck”

I disagree but OK…

“the idea that they might get an advantage from having a pro caddy is laughable.”

A good caddie is easily worth a couple of shots a round. I personally wouldn’t have an issue with the rule being changed or eliminated. But the bottom line is that they violated the rule. And claiming that they were unaware is ridiculous given that the conditions of the competition were printed on a single piece of paper and everybody received one.


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