NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND--Trip Kuehne, ranked No. 1 in Golf Digest's September listing of the top golfers in the world of finance and the oldest member of the American team here at Royal County Down for this weekend's 41st Walker Cup, is blunt when asked about being one of U.S. captain Buddy Marucci's 10 players despite the recent state of his game.
"I don't know if I have anything to prove or not," said Kuehne, who aside from qualifying for the U.S. Open at Oakmont has otherwise struggled on the course this summer.
Entering the two-day competition, the 35-year-old Dallas native does, however, have some history he hopes to rewrite. In his two previous appearances in the Walker Cup, in 1995 and again in 2003, Kuehne has a 1-5-1 record, with the Americans losing the cup both times. And having missed making match play at the U.S. Amateur Championship two weeks ago by 10 shots, shooting a 83 in his second round, he knows there's room for improvement.
"It was a blessing in disguise shooting the 83 [at Olympic Club]," Kuehne said after his practice round Thursday. "I'll live with 83 the rest of my life. I was able to go home and reconnect with Hank Haney and Steve Johnson. We really worked hard on my golf game and the fruits of the labor and the practice what I was able to put in have become very apparent to me."
Trying to grow his money-management firm Double Eagle Capital this summer, Kuehne admits he hasn't been able to spend the time on his game that he would like. He took most of July off from golf to focus on business, explain in part his poor showing at the U.S. Amateur.
"I think when you round out a team, Trip is invaluable," said Marucci, who played alongside Kuehne on the 1995 U.S. team. "He has the respect of every player in our country."
Kuehne, and the rest of the U.S. squad is likely to play in at least three of a possible four matches, according to Marucci.
A quick aside: Before leaving for Northern Ireland, Kuehne took in his first professional tennis match, watching Venus Williams (girl friend of Trip's brother Hank) play her second-round match at the U.S. Open in New York.
"It was very interesting," he said. "I learned a lot. I watched her prepare and watched her match. At 35 years old I learned something from a tennis player I can apply to golf. How she got prepared for that specific match, for her competition."