The United States Golf Association has named John “Spider” Miller, of Bloomington, Ind., as the captain of the USA Team for the 2017 Walker Cup Match at Los Angeles (Calif.) Country Club.
Miller, 64, captained the USA Team in the 2015 Match at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England. He won the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in 1996 and 1998 and represented the United States in the 1999 Walker Cup Match.
“This year at the Walker Cup, I had the great honor to captain a team of our country’s most talented collegiate and mid-amateur players,” Miller said. “They lived up to every ideal and purpose that the Match has exemplified since it began more than 90 years ago. The lasting friendships with the players and their families and friends will endure a lifetime. I am indeed humbled and honored to have the opportunity to captain another group of such fine players and countrymen.”
“The members of the 2015 USA Walker Cup team were enthusiastic about their experience at Royal Lytham, and all cited Spider as the reason for their overwhelmingly positive comments,” said Diana Murphy, USGA vice president and Championship Committee chairman. “The USGA believes that Spider’s leadership, innate understanding of the values of the competition, and his good-natured spirit are critical to the same experience he can provide for the team in 2017. We are also excited to bring the Walker Cup to the George Thomas-designed Los Angeles Country Club for the Match’s first playing on the West Coast since 1981.”
The Walker Cup Match, which began in 1922, is a 10-man amateur team competition between the USA and a team comprised of players from Great Britain and Ireland. Great Britain and Ireland won the 2015 Match, 16½-9½. The USA leads the competition, 35-9-1.
In his U.S. Mid-Amateur victories, Miller defeated Randy Lewis, 3 and 2, in 1996 at Hartford Golf Club, in West Hartford, Conn.; and in 1998, he became the oldest U.S. Mid-Amateur champion at the time, at age 48, when he scored a 1-up victory over Chip Holcombe in the final at NCR Country Club’s South Course, in Kettering, Ohio. As a result of those wins, he competed in the Masters Tournament in 1997 and 1999.
In the 1999 Walker Cup Match played at Nairn Golf Club in Scotland, Miller teamed with Hunter Haas to win a pair of foursomes matches before he lost to Paul Casey, 3 and 2, in singles. In 1997, he led Indiana to a tie for third in the USGA Men’s State Team Championship by carding a 54-hole score of 4-under-par 209.
Miller was inducted into the Indiana Golf Association (IGA) Hall of Fame in 2000. He twice was chosen IGA Player of the Year and is a two-time IGA Mid-Amateur champion. He and partner Jerry Nelson claimed five IGA Four-Ball championships, and he was the low amateur in the Indiana State Open three times.
A 1973 graduate of Indiana University, Miller owns Best Beers, Inc., based in his hometown of Bloomington. He and his wife, Kathy, have five children.