USGA taps Mike McCoy, Nathan Smith with historic twin Walker Cup captain selections
Mike McCoy (left) and Nathan Smith have played in a combined 113 USGA championships. The pair will captain the U.S. Walker Cup teams in 2023 and 2025, respectively.
Recent Walker Cup tradition has been that the U.S. captain holds the job for two successive matches (the second one unofficial until after the first Cup has been completed). That would mean that the USGA’s choice to follow 2019 and 2021 winning captain Nathaniel Crosby and lead the Americans in 2023 and 2025 would do so at two of the finest courses in the world: The Old Course at St. Andrews and Cypress Point.
Appreciating the uniqueness of having these venues host back-to-back matches, the USGA announced on Wednesday that it was going to share the wealth, so to speak, naming Mike McCoy captain for the trip to Scotland and Nathan Smith for the role when the Americans host in the Monterey Peninsula.
This is the first time the USGA had made a joint announcement involving two captains at once. “Both Mike and Nathan have long, exception histories with the USGA and outstanding amateur golf résumés,” said Stu Francis, USGA president, in a press 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, has competed in 65 USGA championships. In taking the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur title, he became the second-oldest winner of the championship. That also helped him secure a spot on the 2015 USA Walker Cup team that competed at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, becoming the third-oldest competitor in the event’s history.
“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 back 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 a Team USA victory at the birthplace of golf.”
Smith, 43, is a five-time USGA champion, having won a record four U.S. Mid-Amateur titles (2003, 2009, 2019 and 2012) and the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball (with Todd White) in 2015. Smith has played in three Walker Cups, earning the clinching point in the Americans’ victory at National Golf Links in 2013.
Nathan Smith shakes hands with Nathan Kimsey after winning their Sunday singles match to clinch the 2013 Walker Cup for the U.S.
“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."
The 2023 Walker Cup will be played Sept. 2-3, with Sat. Andrews having hosted eight previous matches, most recently in 1975. The 2025 Walker Cup will be contested Sept. 6-7, Cypress Point having previously hosted in 1981.
The U.S. leads the all-time series, 38-9-1, with victories in the last three matches.