|Long before he won the U.S. Senior Open, Roger Chapman went 3-1-0 in the 1981 Walker Cup Match at Cypress Point. (USGA Museum)
Roger Chapman, the 2012 U.S. Senior Open champion, competed in the 1981 Walker Cup Match at Cypress Point Club in Pebble Beach, Calif. He registered three points for Great Britain and Ireland, including a singles victory over reigning U.S. Amateur champion Hal Sutton.
Give me a sense of what it was like to compete in the 1981 Walker Cup Match?
Chapman: It’s the culmination of every amateur’s career to play Walker Cup. It’s the amateur equivalent of the Ryder Cup. And for me to play at Cypress Point, which I had never heard of; I had heard of Pebble Beach, it was such a wonderful place. I have always said if I had one round left in my life, it would be at Cypress Point. It was a great honor and great privilege to play for the team, Great Britain and Ireland. I played with Peter McEvoy, Ronan Rafferty, Paul Way and all of those guys. We had a great team and it was great fun. We stayed at the Pebble Beach Lodge. We had one practice round at Pebble Beach and we thought that was great. I think that’s what it is. It’s the experience of two teams coming together, trying to beat the hell out of each other, but then going away on Sunday night saying that was great and we had a good time, and we made friends from it.
What were your emotions like at the flag ceremony and then on the first tee?
Chapman: It was the first time I had represented a team where I had the national anthem being played. The hairs go up on the back of your neck. I’m a pretty patriotic guy. When I go to rugby [matches] I always sing the national anthem with as much gusto as I can. There was a great sense of pride, that you had achieved something. On Friday night, all the families are there. My mum and dad and my brothers had come over from England. I think everyone feels so proud when the Union [Jack] goes up. And then you can’t wait for Saturday morning to come and start the matches.
While the team struggled, your performance was one of the best, garnering three points, with a pair of singles wins. Talk about your individual play in the Match.
Chapman: Paul Way and I had always played foursomes together. We just thought on Saturday morning that we were playing together. We had never lost together playing for England, and it was shock to us that we weren’t paired. I was playing with Peter McEvoy. I can’t remember who Paul played with, but we both lost. And then in the afternoon, I played Bob Lewis in the singles and beat him. And lo and behold, Paul Way and I were put back together on Sunday morning and we beat Hal Sutton and Jay Sigel, who were the top two players on their team. Then I went out in No. 1 singles and beat Hal Sutton in singles. We had an unbelievable game. I was five under after nine and he came back at me. I think I finished 2-3-4-3 to beat him 1 up.
- David Shefter