The U.S. has its captain for each of the next two Walker Cups.
The USGA announced Wednesday that Mike McCoy has been named the U.S. captain for the 2023 match at The Old Course at St. Andrews (Sept. 2-3) while Nathan Smith will lead the Americans in 2025 at Cypress Point (Sept. 6-7). Both players are former Walker Cuppers and past champions of the U.S. Mid-Amateur, with Smith competing on three Walker Cup teams and winning four Mid-Am titles.
“Both Mike and Nathan have long, exceptional histories with the USGA and outstanding amateur golf resumes,” USGA president Stu Francis said in a release. “Given the historic nature of the next two matches being staged at St. Andrews and Cypress Point, we wanted to give both of them the time to enjoy this leadership opportunity and plan their next few years accordingly. We congratulate each of them on an honor well deserved and look forward to watching them lead two talented USA Teams.”
McCoy, 59, hails from Des Moines, Iowa, and the Wichita State alum is an 11-time Iowa Player of the Year. He has competed in 65 USGA championships, including the 2015 Walker Cup at Royal Lytham and the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur, which he won with an 8-and-6 victory over Bill Williamson to become the second-oldest winner in championship history at age 50. He was the third-oldest U.S. Walker Cupper at age 52.
“I am humbled to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup Team,” McCoy said. “It will again be a privilege to be a part of the Walker Cup competition that I was so fortunate to be a part of in 2015. My experiences with the USGA, and the Walker Cup Match, have provided some of the most unforgettable weeks of my life, and I’m thrilled to build new memories with members of next year’s team. I look forward to the diligent preparation that will be required for the challenge of the Old Course.”
Smith, 43, is a Pittsburgh native, graduate of D-III Allegheny College and five-time USGA champion. His four U.S. Mid-Amateur wins – in 2003, ’09, ‘10 and ’12 – are a championship record. His 2003 victory came at age 25, making him the youngest champion ever. He also won the 2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball with Todd White.
Smith’s 48 USGA championship starts include Walker Cup appearances in 2009, ’11 and ’13. He has a career 3-4-1 in the biennial competition and was a part of two winning teams, earning the clinching point in 2013 at National Golf Links of America.
“Historically, I understand that there is no greater honor than being named captain of the USA Walker Cup Team,” Smith said. “I am ecstatic at the opportunity to lead this team at such a historic and storied venue. Providing the winning point for the USA during the 2013 Match is a memory I will never forget, and that accomplished feeling is something I’m focused on providing for the team in 2025.”
For nearly the past 30 years, the USGA has offered each of its captains back-to-back Walker Cups, both home and away opportunities. In fact, not since Jim Gabrielsen (’91) and Vinny Giles (’93) have captains not captained in back-to-back matches.
So, why break with tradition now? John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s chief championships officer, told GolfChannel.com that it’s because of the “strong and growing list of candidates.”
“Given the exceptional nature of the venues, we wanted to give both Mike and Nathan the opportunity to be a part of one of these next two matches,” Bodenhamer said. “In addition, given the strong and growing list of candidates we have of potential USA Walker Cup Team captains, while historically we have often awarded each both a home and away match, moving forward we feel comfortable providing this opportunity for one match and re-evaluating as needed.”
The U.S. leads the all-time Walker Cup series, 38-9-1, and has won each of the past three Cups.