BROOKLINE, Mass. -- While the USGA searches desperately for two qualified mid-amateurs to make their team, one of the world's top amateurs is, in fact, a mid-am.
By the time most golfers have reached 25 years old (the qualification for mid-amateur), if they have professional aspirations, they have already made the leap and lost their amateur status. Which brings us to the curious case of Neil Raymond.
Raymond who was co-medalist at this week's U.S. Amateur, won the prestigious St. Andrews links amateur earlier this season and is the two-time Brabazon trophy winner. It's a very good amateur resume that is sure to see him selected to this year's Walker Cup team, after which he is set to turn professional.
It's all standard stuff for an elite amateur, except that Raymond is 27 years old.
While Raymond now has professional aspirations, he did not harbor them when he was younger and instead took a job working in a pro shop. However, working in the pro shop gave him time to work on his game, and it rapidly improved.
For the last couple of years now he has been traveling the world, playing full-time as an amateur as a member of the England Elite squad. And while he cites Tiger Woods and his dad as his inspirations, he will certainly be hoping to achieve the same success as another famous pro shop worker, Ian Poulter.