Officially named “The Women’s International Cup,” the cup for the
Curtis Cup Match was offically presented in 1932 by Harriot and
Margaret Curtis, sisters who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur four times
between them. The cup, a silver bowl of Paul Revere design, is
inscribed, “To stimulate friendly rivalry among the women golfers of
many lands.” The cup was first presented in 1927 to give momentum to
the competition, but play didn’t begin until 1932, largely because of
As beloved as the Curtis Cup Match
is among those who have battled for it, no other USGA competition has
had such problems getting off the ground.
The Match has
its origins in an informal match played in 1905. Frances Griscom, of
Philadelphia, the 1900 U.S. Women’s Amateur Champion, suggested that it
would be fun for a group to play in the British Ladies Open Amateur, at
Cromer, England. Eight Americans made the trip to play, including Miss
Griscom, Georgianna Bishop, the 1904 Women’s Amateur Champion, and
Harriot and Margaret Curtis.
An informal match developed
between the Americans and a team from Britain. Although the USA was
soundly beaten, the exhilaration and goodwill established by their
visit always stayed with the competitors, particularly with Margaret
and Harriot Curtis.
Interest in an international match
was revived at a 1924 meeting of the Women’s Eastern Golf Association
and became a subject of discussion among the Association, the British
Ladies’ Golf Union and the French Golf Union over the next five years.
In 1927, the Curtis sisters gave the idea another push by donating a
cup for an international match. Fanny Osgood, of Boston, was appointed
to again take up the matter with the LGU. A match was tentatively
planned for 1928, but financial obstacles made it impossible.
1928, the USGA Women’s Committee appointed a subcommittee to consider
an international match, but the idea was stymied by the usual lack of
money. In 1930, the great American amateur Glenna Collett took matters
into her own hands and arranged for a group of her countrywomen to play
in Great Britain.
In 1931, the LGU agreed to regular
matches with the United States. The USGA then decided to finance the
American team and administer the competition. The Curtis Cup was
accepted that same year as the official trophy.
series began the following year with the United States opposing Great
Britain, with a proviso that France might join in whenever it was able
to do so. While it was hoped that many nations would eventually join in
the Match, the Curtis Cup has remained a two-sided competition.
first Curtis Cup Match was played in 1932 at Wentworth Golf Club, in
England. Marion Hollins captained the American team, which consisted of
Mrs. Vare, Maureen Orcutt, Virginia Van Wie, Opal Hill, Helen Hicks,
Leona Pressler Cheney, and Dorothy Higbie. The team representing Great
Britain and Ireland was made up of Joyce Wethered, the famous English
champion who also served as captain, Wanda Morgan, Enid Wilson, Molly
Gourlay, Doris Park, Diana Fishwick, Elsie Corlett, and Mrs. J.B.
Watson, The Americans prevailed, 51¼2 to 31¼.
the Americans dominated until recent years, the true meaning of the
Curtis Cup Match has never been overshadowed by the results and the
Match has always been regarded as a vehicle of international friendship