Walker Cup Memories: Tom Kite
|Tom Kite enjoyed a stellar amateur career, including an appearance on the 1971 USA Walker Cup Team. (USGA Museum)|
Tom Kite, a former All-American at the University of Texas, competed on the 1971 USA Walker Cup Team, which lost, 13-11, on the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland. Kite went 2-1-1 in the Match, including a Sunday singles victory. He would go on to have a Hall-of-Fame career, winning 19 PGA Tour titles, including the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004.
What stands out when you think about your Walker Cup experience?
My Walker Cup year was 1971, and I think a lot of people might consider that one of the best Walker Cup teams of all time. The list guys that were on that team ... John Farquhar, Steve Melnyk, Lanny Wadkins, Jim Simons, William Campbell. There were no weak links on that team. And yet it was kind of like recent Ryder Cups. We were pretty heavily favored and got beat. They outplayed us, especially the last day of singles. I think Lanny and I were the only ones to win our matches.
Did you enjoy the experience?
Well, I was paired with Bill Campbell in the [foursomes], and that in itself was just tremendous. I really enjoyed that.
How did the experience impact you in your career?
It was the first time I had ever traveled out of the country. We played at St. Andrews, and that was really special. I remember asking Bill Campbell on the way over about the Old Course. Is it kind of flat or kind of hilly? He didn't know how to answer that. It's kind of both. So that was my introduction to links golf, and you can't do better than that. I don't think it changed me at all as a player, but a lot of great friendships came out of that week, so it had an impact on me personally. Vinny ended up representing me [as my agent]. Jim Simons and I became very good friends. That's the kind of thing that meant the most.
- Dave Shedloski