Former UCLA standout Corey Pavin was a member of the winning 1981 USA Walker Cup Team, which defeated Great Britain and Ireland, 15-9, at the Cypress Point Club in Pebble Beach, Calif. Pavin, who went 2-0-1 in that Match, would later go on to a stellar PGA Tour career, winning 15 titles, including the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. He also played on three U.S. Ryder Cup Teams and captained the 2010 squad.
What do you remember about playing in the Walker Cup?
I remember a lot. That was one of the most incredible experiences I've had in golf.
Hit the highlights then.
I remember the opening ceremonies and the bagpiper coming out of the fog at Cypress Point Club to the right of the first tee. That was pretty cool. I played with Ron Commans in an alternate-shot (foursomes) match, and we had a great time. He was the bad guy, the Trojan (from USC, Pavin went to UCLA), but we teamed up well. When it was all over I remember having a few drinks with everyone together. I played against Duncan Evans in singles, and we [had a few drinks after the Match] together. But that's kind of what it's all about. It's a week of emotion, and when it's over you let your guard down and everyone can relax.
What did that mean to your career at that point?
It meant to me ... being recognized as one of the 10 best amateurs. It meant a lot to play at Cypress Point, for me, being from California, and enjoying it being somewhat of a home game, if you will. A lot of pride went into that week. And it was neat seeing Cypress Point set up that way, sort of like a mini U.S. Open. There wasn't a lot of rough but there was enough and the greens had that brownish hue to them to where they were quick and pretty firm, so you had to hit quality shots. It was a great set up.
Did playing in the Walker Cup make you a better player?
I'm sure it did. I loved playing match play. I loved the battle and the mental aspect of it. I remember my singles match the first day against Ian Hutcheon, I think ... I had a 4-foot putt and he had one maybe a couple of inches longer. I gave him the putt and then sank mine, and I felt like I had won right there doing that. It was kind of fun having that challenge.