The way the USGA picks the US Walker Cup and Curtis Cup teams -- the elite, country-based amateur team competitions for men and women -- has always been a bit of a mystery. There's a committee that gets together and then, like, picking the pope at the conclave, they come out with a bellow of white smoke and a set of 10 or eight names.
While the process has been refined some over the years, particularly to protect mid-amateur players, it's still been largely done behind closed doors. That's changing now, with the USGA announcing revised selection processes for both teams which are clearer and give automatic spots on those teams to players based on their accomplishments.
The new Walker Cup team selection criteria will add automatic picks for as many as five players on the 10-person squad, including the three highest-ranked American players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking as of a TBD date in August before the matches. The 2019 US Amateur champion, if they're American, will get a spot. The World Amateur Golf Ranking No. 1 player, who is awarded the Mark H. McCormack medal, will be named to the team right after the US Amateur. The other players, including at least one mid-am, will then be decided by the USGA International Team Selection committee.
The new Curtis Cup team selection criteria will be the same, offering five of eight available spots to potential automatic qualifiers.
These have been long-requested changes to the selection process, and these potential automatic qualifiers offer players additional incentive to compete well in the US Amateur and US Women's Amateur to lock up spots in these career-changing competitions.