March 5th 2012
Charley Hull’s decision to play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship has cost her a place in the Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup team, the Ladies Golf Union has announced.
Hull’s decision to play in the first women’s major of the year means she misses a GB&I Curtis Cup team training session, and that rules her out of playing in the biennial match at Nairn, Scotland, June 8-11.
“She won’t be selected because all the players signed an undertaking to attend the team trial in March, and on the basis that she is not available for that she won’t be available for selection for the match,” said Susan Simpson, the LGU’s Head of Golf Operations. “We made it plain to the players that if they didn’t play in the training session they wouldn’t play in the match. They signed an agreement.”
Hull was one of 12 GB&I Players selected for the training session to be held at Nairn, March 23-25. The Kraft Nabisco is held March 29-April 1, so Hull could have participated in the training session and then travelled to California. However, the 15-year-old is playing in Florida’s Natural Charity Classic on the Symetra Tour the week before the Kraft Nabisco, courtesy of winning this year’s Harder Hall.
“She said her decision was final,” Simpson said. “We tried to discuss it with her but she obviously has different ideas about what’s important to her.
“We made it clear that we want players that are committed to being part of a winning team. You’re either in it to win it or there are plenty of people knocking on the door.”
It means GB&I enters the match without one of its strongest players. GB&I hasn’t won the match since 1996.
Hull is currently the world’s third-ranked GB&I player. The member of Woburn Golf Club, Ian Poulter’s home club, is ninth on the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking. Only Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire are ranked higher than Hull, at seventh and eighth respectively. Both will participate in the training session. Meadow is returning from the University of Alabama to take part.
England’s Georgia Hall has taken Hull’s spot in the training session. Hall, 15, is ranked 686th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
Former GB&I Curtis Cup players Catriona Matthew and Karen Stupples have criticized the LGU’s decision.
Matthew called the LGU’s decision “bizarre.”
“When you’ve got the chance to play in a major, that experience would help more than playing in Curtis Cup training session,” said 2009 Women’s British Open winner Matthew, a three-time GB&I Curtis Cup player. “If you’re good enough to get an invite to a major you should be given an exception to miss the training session. It’s very short-sighted of the LGU and I think they should reconsider.”
Stupples was a member of the victorious 1996 GB&I team. She made her Cup debut that year, winning one point out of two to help defeat the US 11 1/2 – 6 1/2 in Killarney, Ireland. Stupples also played in the 1998 GB&I team.
“The LGU are hurting their chances of winning,” Stupples said. “Charley’s incredibly talented. The fact she’s been invited to play in the Kraft Nabisco proves that. If we want to win the Curtis Cup we’ve got to take the best team possible.
“You can’t blame Charley. She’s made the right decision. She wasn’t going to turn down an invite to play in the Kraft. It’ll be a great experience. The only ones who are losing out of this are the LGU. It’s a real shame because it hurts our chances of winning the Curtis Cup.”
Golfweek tried to reach Hull for comment, but she is playing in this week’s Spanish International Ladies’ Championship and wasn’t available.