Vernon, Thompson Named USA Captains For World Amateur Team Championships

February 16, 2012

Past USGA President Jim Vernon will captain the USA Team at the Men's World Amateur Team Championship this October in Turkey. (John Mummert/USGA)

Far Hills, N.J. – The United States Golf Association today named past USGA President Jim Vernon, of Pasadena, Calif., and renowned career amateur Carol Semple Thompson, of Sewickley, Pa., as captains of the men’s and women’s USA Teams for the 2012 World Amateur Team Championships, to be played Sept. 27-30 (women) and Oct. 4-7 (men) in Antalya, Turkey.

“I am honored to receive this opportunity to serve as captain of the USA Team,” said Vernon. “Golf is such a global game, one which everyone can play, and I look forward to leading our players as they represent their country in this championship. It will be an exciting experience for all of us."

Carol Semple Thompson will captain the 2012 USA Women's World Amateur Team in Turkey. (John Mummert/USGA)

Semple Thompson, who captained the USA Curtis Cup Team in 2006 and 2008, will fill the role previously awarded to the late Barbara Douglas, who died in January.

“This is a wonderful honor, but bittersweet since Barbara Douglas was an accomplished leader of the Women’s Committee who deserved the honor,” said Semple Thompson. “But I will enjoy the moment, as it is always such fun to be with young, brilliant players. They make me feel young.”

Vernon, 61, served as USGA president in 2008 and 2009, and was a member of the Executive Committee for seven years. He was vice president from 2006-07.

Vernon has a long history of golf administration, having acted as president of the board of directors of both the Southern California Golf Association and the California Golf Association in 1997 and 1998. He was also president of Lakeside Golf Club in Burbank, Calif., in 1990. Vernon currently serves on the board of directors of the Southern California Golf Association Foundation.

Vernon also served as chairman of the USGA’s Equipment Standards Committee, the group responsible for regulating clubs, balls and other equipment to assure compliance with the Rules of Golf, from 2004-07.

After practicing law for nine years following graduation from Stanford Law School in 1975, Vernon left the firm to run his family’s diamond business, Frank Vernon Diamond Brokers and Wholesale Jewelers. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University in 1972. He and his wife, Gail, live in Pasadena.

Semple Thompson, 63, is one of the most decorated female golfers in amateur history and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2008. A seven-time individual USGA champion, Semple Thompson’s victories include the 1973 Women’s Amateur title and four consecutive Senior Women’s Amateur titles in 1999-2002. She represented the United States a record 12 times at the Curtis Cup Match (1974-76, 1980-82, 1988-2002), and led the team to victory as captain in 2006 and 2008.

She also competed at the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship in 1974, 1980, 1988, 1992 and 1994, and becomes the second past WWATC competitor to captain the team. (Barbara McIntire competed on the inaugural team in 1964 and served as captain in 1998.)

Semple Thompson’s parents, Harton and Phyllis Semple, were longtime USGA volunteers and competitive golfers. Harton Semple was a member of the USGA Executive Committee who served as president in 1974-75, while Phyllis Semple competed in more than 30 USGA championships. Both preceded their daughter as World Amateur Team captains: Phyllis Semple captained the victorious USA Team at the 1976 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship in Portugal, and Harton Semple led the 1978 men's team to victory in Fiji.

Semple Thompson followed in their footsteps, becoming the second female member of the USGA Executive Committee (1994-2000). She won the 2003 USGA Bob Jones Award, and served as general chairman of the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont Country Club. A 1970 graduate of Hollins College, Thompson is married to Richard V. Thompson.

The World Amateur Team Championship, for the Eisenhower Trophy, will be played at Antalya Golf Club (PGA Sultan Course) and Cornelia Golf Club. The Women’s World Amateur Team Championship, for the Espirito Santo Trophy, will be played at Gloria Golf Club (Old and New Courses).

The World Amateur Team Championship began in 1958, with the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship starting in 1964. The International Golf Federation (IGF) was founded in 1958 to encourage the international development of golf through friendship and sportsmanship. Today, the IGF consists of more than 120 national governing bodies of golf and is the international federation for golf for the International Olympic Committee. As one of its main functions, the IGF conducts the World Amateur Team Championships for women and men on a biennial basis.

The World Amateur Team Championships were last played in 2010 in Argentina. France claimed the men’s title and Korea won the women’s championship. The USA Teams finished second in the women’s competition and third in the men’s.

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The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, Equipment Standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA’s working jurisdiction comprises the United States, its territories and Mexico.

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