| Steve Scott (right) helped the USA win in 1997 at Quaker Ridge. (USGA/John Mummert)
Steve Scott, the 1996 U.S. Amateur runner-up to Tiger Woods, competed on two USA Walker Cup Teams in 1997 and again in 1999, posting an overall record of 2-4-0. Currently the head professional at Paramount Country Club in New City, N.Y., Scott still looks back at those Walker Cup appearances with fond memories
You played on two Walker Cup Teams, one that was victorious at Quaker Ridge and one that lost in 1999 at Nairn. What is your best memory?
Scott: I guess the better memory is from 1997 at Quaker Ridge when we [won]. I was last off of the singles matches on the second day and all we needed was a half-point to win the Cup. And I knew we were going to get that before I even got my point. It was a pretty carefree afternoon. I played pretty well. I ended up winning my match. We won 18-6. It was so much fun. We had a great time. Our captain, Downing Gray was awesome. That was special. The other team was very special, too. We were tied going into the singles matches on Day 2. I was first off and I lost 1 down. A bunch of our matches were lost by 1 down or 2 and 1. They were very close. We ended up losing the singles matches 7-1 in the afternoon. But it was a lot closer than that.
A lot of guys mention how special the opening ceremony is. What are your recollections of seeing the flags go up at the opening ceremony?
Scott: It’s pretty awesome, to know that you are representing your country. All of the hard work that went into getting on the team and the great play that happened before that. You think of all the stuff that led up to that point and how special it is to be one of 10 players representing the whole country. And to do it twice is really cool. It’s unique because it’s a team game and you don’t get many team games in golf, so that made it even more special.
What were your nerves like in your first match?
Scott: It’s pretty nerve-racking. It’s pretty cool. I didn’t play in the [Saturday] alternate-shot session in 1997. So I was sitting around all [morning] watching and the nerves built up a little bit. I remember being so nervous [in my Saturday singles match] that I had a downhiller on No. 1 at Quaker Ridge about 8 feet for birdie and I normally line up my trademark on my golf ball. But I couldn’t get the thing straight because my hands were shaking. Somehow I made the putt, but man, it was something.
Had you ever experienced something like that before?
Scott: I was nervous that day too (1996 U.S. Amateur final against Tiger Woods). The nerves wear off after the first hole, once you get into the game and you’re focused on the shots. The first-hole nerves are pretty interesting.
What about the differences of playing a Walker Cup in the States versus overseas?
Scott: Everybody is cheering for good golf. It’s not like the Ryder Cup. Over here, there are certainly a few more fans in your favor. It’s not like you miss a putt … and you get booed as a member of the [visiting] team. I don’t ever remember being booed.
Today when you look back at the two Walker Cup appearances, how proud are you?
Scott: It’s certainly the biggest honor that I’ve ever received. Even if you play well, there’s not like an automatic invitation. You have to be invited and it’s a very select group. There’s going to be a lot of well-deserved people that are going to be left off the team this year. The honor of the privilege to be invited into that fraternity is something you never forget.