TRUCKEE, CALIF., July 25, 2011 — Describing the chance to represent the United States as “the greatest honor I have ever received” in his lengthy and illustrous golf career, U.S. Walker Cup captain Jim Holtgrieve challenged contestants to “play hard and try to win your way on this year’s team” on the eve of the 45th Pacific Coast Amateur Championship, which begins Tuesday at Martis Camp Club.
“There’s nothing better than playing for your country,” said Holtgrieve at a players’ dinner. The field is comprised of 84 amateur golfers from 15 associations that comprise the Pacific Coast Golf Association as well as a select number of invitees from around the world.
In an interview earlier in the evening, Holtgrieve said that while several players have distinguished themselves with stellar play this summer, the Walker Cup Team selection process is far from complete. Holtgrieve hopes that eight members of the team will be named no later than the conclusion of the Western Amateur on August 7. Those eight members will gather for practice rounds in advance of the U.S. Amateur and Holtgrieve believes the final two members will be named after that championship.
The Pacific Coast Amateur is one of eight events that Holtgrieve will have visited this year by the time that the 10-man U.S. team is selected. Begun in 1921, the Walker Cup — the most prestigious international team event in amateur golf — is a biennial competition played between the U.S. and Great Britain and Ireland. The 42nd renewal of the matches will be played Sept. 9-10 at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club.
The Pacific Coast Amateur has frequently been one of the tournaments used by the United States Golf Association in selecting its team. Nearly 40 Pacific Coast Amateur contestants, including 11 former champions, have played on Walker Cup teams in the past.
Holtgrieve, one of the United States’ most decorated amateur golfers, won the inaugural USGA Mid-Amateur championship in 1981 and represented the U.S. in winning Walker Cup teams 1979, '81, and '83, where he had a combined record of 6-4. He also represented the USA on two victorious World Amateur Championship squads in 1980 and '82. A semifinalist at the 1980 U.S. Amateur and runner-up at the 1983 British Amateur, Holtgrieve won numerous state and district amateur titles in Missouri and played in five Masters tournaments as an amateur, making the cut three times. He also qualified for the 1978 U.S. Open.