Wednesday, October 1, 2008

2009 Walker Cup Preview

2009 Walker Cup Preview

It was sort of an omen when Buddy Marucci won the USGA Senior Amateur, seeing that he's going to Captain the next Walker Cup, which will be played over the Merion Golf Club course in Philadelphia, giving Buddy a real home court advantage.

For those uninitiated into the world of golf, the Walker Cup is the amateur equilivant of the golf professoinal's Ryder Cup, which pits competative golfers that represent nations and continents against one another, playing up the team and national spirit rather than the individual play.

Unlike the Ryder Cup, which expanded its pool of players to incude those from Europe, the Walker Cup remains a true USA - UK (& Ireland) match, maintaining many of the original traditions associated with the game, and being played for only over historically significant courses.

Hence Merion.

And Buddy.

And the Walker Cup, whose splendid pedegree is traced directly to George Herbert Walker, the grandfather and namesake of President George Herbert Walker Bush.

Like Ryder, the English merchant who put the Ryder Cup into competition, Walker continued the tradition of formalizing the antagonistic national rivalry between players from England and its former colony, the United States.

The first official Walker Cup event was held at Walker's home course, and over the years, at other classic, traditonal golf club courses.

Merion of course, fits the bill to a tee, having been the scene of numerous historic events that have made the golf record books and biographical notes.

The upcoming Walker Cup will most certainly make its mark on the record books as well as the biographies, and Buddy will be one of the more colorful characters who will have an impact on what transpires.

Back when the Walker Cup first started, the best golfers were amateurs, and those who are really good, and have maintained the amateur tradition, will make this a great tournamet.

And the publicity and excitement generated by this year's Ryder Cup will certainly add to the proceedings, and build up enthusiasm as the contest draws near.

- Bill Kelly
Oct. 1, 2008

Far Hills, N.J. - George "Buddy" Marucci, a 53-year-old career amateur who was runner-up to Tiger Woods in the 1995 U.S. Amateur, has been chosen to be captain of the 2007 USA Walker Cup squad.

Buddy Marucci lost to Tiger Woods, 2 up, in the 1995 U.S. Amateur. (USGA Photo Archives)
The next Walker Cup Match, a 10-man amateur team competition between the USA and a joint team from Great Britain and Ireland , will be played from Sept. 8-9 at Royal County Down in Newcastle, Ireland .

"It's a dream come true," said Marucci. "I have some big shoes to fill in following Bob Lewis (2005 USA captain). It's going to be a challenge, and I'm looking forward to it."

The co-owner of Pennmark Auto Group, a company with four luxury car dealerships in the Philadelphia area, Marucci has qualified for 40 USGA championships, including 23 Amateurs.

As runner-up in the 1995 Amateur, he earned an invitation to play in the 1996 Masters. He continued to be one of the country's top amateur players, and reached the quarterfinals of the 1996 Amateur later that year. As a result, he was selected to consecutive USA Walker Cup teams, in 1995 and 1997. He has a combined record of 3-0 in foursomes (alternate shot) and 1-1-1 in singles.

A 1974 graduate of the University of Maryland, Marucci resides in Wayne, Pa.