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 1920.
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 1920.
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
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 Amateur.
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 Southampton, N.Y.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
States leads the series, 31-5-1.
For a website
dedicated to the history of the Walker Cup, please be sure to