Wooster Alums Hosting U.S. Open, Curtis Cup this Summer
Some of golf’s most prestigious events – like U.S. Opens, Ryder Cups, U.S. Amateur Championships, and Curtis Cups to name a few – are in great hands, and two College of Wooster men’s golf standouts, who are PGA professionals at two of the most storied courses in the United States, are a reason why. Brendan Walsh and Scott Nye, 1985 alumni who helped the Fighting Scots to a pair of top-10 finishes at the NCAA Div. III Championships, are back in the spotlight this year. Walsh, the club pro at historic The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, is hosting this year’s U.S. Open, while Nye, the club pro at Merion Golf Club near Philadelphia, is hosting the Curtis Cup, a signature women’s amateur event between teams representing the United States and Great Britain and Ireland.
Since arriving at Merion in 2000, Nye has hosted the U.S. Amateur (2005), Walker Cup (2009), and the 2013 U.S. Open, where Justin Rose won his first major title. Brookline, one of the five charter clubs that founded the United States Golf Association (USGA), has hosted a Ryder Cup (1999) and U.S. Amateur (2013) under Walsh’s watch.
Preplanning for the championship events is what occupies most of Nye and Walsh’s duties. The longtime close friends lean on each other when formulating strategies to make the championships a smashing success, while also impacting their club members in a positive way. An example of this is a short par-3 from when Nye hosted the U.S. Open at Merion is something in Walsh’s course’s lineup this June based on the rave reviews it received.
“We have been planning since the announcement Brookline was hosting around 2015,” shared Walsh. “We have been full steam ahead since the start of 2018. We have not made any major changes with the work we have done, just trying to restore some of the green complexes and help with drainage, stuff that is going to be beneficial for the members big picture all across the board. We went ahead and moved the first and 18th fairways out to the right to create more of a dogleg and moved the bunkers closer to the green so the players can take on more of a challenge if they want to carry the bunker.”
On the other hand, Nye is already looking ahead to the future with Merion hosting two U.S. Opens, two U.S. Women’s Opens, and a U.S. Amateur between 2026 and 2050. “Land acquisition” is a big item on the to-do list, per Nye, along with great communication to the members on “how they can pitch in and support,” the club which has hosted the most USGA championships.
Nye and Walsh are both well-versed with different types of support that are needed from them specifically with the calendar getting closer to the actual championships. Walsh will play more of a support role with the USGA running point during the actual championship, while Nye will be more hands-on with the day-to-day operations of this summer’s Curtis Cup.
While both work at very prestigious clubs, “not a lot of people have seen our golf course,” according to Walsh, something he noted was similar to when Nye hosted the U.S. Open in 2013. Even with that unique wrinkle factored in, several of today’s top-ranked players may have a leg up due to Brookline hosting the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship, where top players like Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau, and others, were up-and-coming high school and college golfers. However, just five of the 12 players currently ranked in the top-100 professionally who played in the 2013 event made the cut at Brookline.
A positive Wooster experience has been at the forefront of Nye and Walsh’s career success, and a close-knit community among the College’s varsity teams is a large part of that.
“We were in dormitories with guys playing on other teams, and we knew women who were on teams,” shared Nye. “All of us were lucky because the coaches at Wooster were doing just what we do today, make our programs better each and every year, each and every day, step by step. The coaches used creative ways to figure out how they could help us have a tremendous athletic experience with us playing Div. III athletics and the smaller budgets that go with it. Just seeing that, and watching other athletes go about trying to improve, we would follow them. We took great interest in other sports. We were lucky to be around people who were passionate about playing in Div. III athletics and always trying to be better. We took that into our business careers and applied a lot of those things we saw each and every day in Wooster.”
Walsh shares those same sentiments, noting, “We got to know all the coaches too. They all took interest in golf and we took interest in them. It was neat being at a small school like that and we knew their players. Coach Nye, (also the soccer coach), looked out for his golfers, and I worked some of the soccer games, announcing and keeping the scorebook. It was awesome getting exposed to the other players and teams.”
In the classroom, Henry Loess and Gordon Collins were big influences on Walsh, a psychology major, and the “all walks of life” among the student body really “opened my eyes up to someone who was pretty sheltered in a big-city lifestyle we had growing up.” Robert Blair was someone who really impacted Nye, a sociology major. Blair’s work “helping me prepare and write in a way I needed to write,” is still something Nye regularly uses to this day.
One thing is for certain, the passion with which Nye and Walsh serve their members, and these top-tier championship events, is rooted deeply in Wooster’s core values and learning outcomes.
Published May 24, 2022
Posted in Alumni on May 24, 2022.
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