Walker Cup Next For Tide's Cauley

When a high school player goes off to college to play football, he's going to find himself competing with men who are bigger and faster and stronger than any he has previously gone against. Same in basketball and most other sports. But not golf. An amateur at the highest level has played the toughest courses and against the toughest possible players before he gets to college.

That's why Bud Cauley said he wasn't surprised at his first year success at Alabama. And what a successful for year for the young man from Jacksonville, Fla., who plays for the Crimson Tide men's golf team of Coach Jay Seawell.

"I was playing well coming into school," he said. "It's just golf. I knew if I played to my ability I'd do all right."

He did better than all right.

Cauley was an All-America in his first year for the Crimson Tide. He's just a few days from heading off to famed Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., where he'll represent the United States in the Walker Cup Matches Sept. 12-13.

The sophomore became just the second player in Alabama history to be selected for the United States Walker Cup team, joining former Tide great Jerry Pate (1974).

Cauley is one of 10 amateurs named to the team by the United States Golf Association. They will compete against a team of 10 amateur players representing Great Britain and Ireland.

"I'm really excited about the chance to play in the Walker Cup and honored to be selected," Cauley said. "I have always been very patriotic, so the opportunity to represent my country again means a lot to me. The USGA called me on Saturday night to let me know I had been selected and it was an amazing feeling. You can accomplish a lot by working hard, playing well and winning some tournaments, and I have been able to do a little of that, which is very humbling."

Cauley led the Crimson Tide as a freshman during the 2008-09 season with a 72.13 stroke average, which is the sixth-best mark in school history. Cauley won the U.S. Collegiate Championship and posted five top-five finishes. He was a first-team Golfweek All-America, a member of the All-Nicklaus Team, a first-team All-SEC choice, a semifinalist for the Hogan Award, the SEC Freshman of the Year and a member of the Palmer Cup Team.

"It is the highest honor you can get in amateur golf and we are very proud of Bud for what he has accomplished," Alabama Coach Jay Seawell said. "He is just the second Alabama player in school history to be selected for the team, and it will be exciting to watch him represent both the University of Alabama and the United States come September."

Cauley joins Oklahoma State's Morgan Hoffmann as the youngest members of the team at just 19 years of age.

Cauley said, "I don't know what to expect" at the Walker Cup matches. "I talked to some players who had been there and they said they couldn't describe it. I can't wait. I have never been in anything this big and representing my country.

Cauley is coming off a successful appearance in the United State Amateur at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. Although he was eliminated in the round of 32, along the way he defeated the world's number one ranked amateur, Rickey Fowler, who will be one of his Walker Cup teammates.

The biennial Walker Cup Match consists of 16 singles matches and eight foursome matches. The United States has won the last two matches and leads the series overall, 33-7-1.

Cauley had Seawell as his caddy at the U.S. Amateur. Cauley said, "We got along great. I'm not the friendliest guy to be around when I'm playing bad, but I was playing well. It helped to have him because he noticed things I'd improved on this summer. It was a bittersweet experience because I played really well in medal play, then drew Rickey in the first round of match play and played really well. Then the next day I played horribly."

He said, "Coach Seawell has done a great job with this program. He wants us to be the best we can be."

Seawell said that players have a chance to get better in the summer and the U.S. Amateur was the first time he had seen Cauley since the NCAA Tournament last spring. "He has really improved," Seawell said. "I almost didn't recognize him. He's gotten stronger in his game, more confident in his shots."

Seawell didn't sign any new players for this year's team, but has commitments from two of the nation's best to sign in November. This year's squad, Seawell said, "will have one senior, no juniors, five sophomores, and two redshirt freshmen. So Bud will have to be a leader."

Cauley is not Seawell's first Walker Cup player. He previously coached two men who played for the European side.

BamaMag Top Stories