A month after she was ruled ineligible for Great Britain-Ireland’s Curtis Cup team, England’s Charley Hull was named to the squad on Wednesday.
Also named to the eight-player squad of amateurs that will face the United States this summer are Amy Boulden, Holly Clyburn, Bronte Law, Leona Maguire, Pamela Pretswell, Kelly Tidy and Stephanie Meadow.
Hull, who turned 16 on March 20, is seventh in the world amateur rankings – she is the highest-ranked player from Britain or Ireland. But she was disinvited from the team in February when it was announced that she was one of five amateurs from around the world invited to play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, an LPGA Tour major, and would miss a mandatory Curtis Cup team practice at Nairn Golf Club in Scotland. Nairn will host the Curtis Cup on June 8-10.
Her removal from consideration prompted a huge reaction throughout British golf. England Golf Union Chief Executive John Petrie asked the LGU to rethink its decision, as did former Women’s British Open champions Karen Stupples of England and Catriona Matthew of Scotland.
"For what it's worth Charley is making the right decision to play in Kraft, the experience gained from it is priceless," said Stupples via Twitter. Added Matthew, "Ridiculous! Surely the LGU would want to have their best possible team. Charley would and should be a lock regardless."
Hull’s surprise selection on Wednesday was confirmed when the LGU’s Selection Panel overturned its original requirement that all team members had to attend the practice session at Nairn.
Left off the team was 17-year-old Lauren Taylor, the youngest-ever winner of the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship last June, who has been nursing an injury for some time. She remains unable to play full shots, and the LGU wasn’t sure she would be 100 percent fit in time for the Curtis Cup.
Of the eight players selected, only Clyburn, Maguire and Pretswell have played in a previous Curtis Cup match. They were on the team beaten 12 1/2 to 7 1/2 in Boston in 2010. But three team members – Hull (No. 7), Maguire (No. 9) and Meadow (No. 10) – are currently in the top 20 of the world amateur rankings. In addition, Boulden, Clyburn, Tidy and Pretswell played on the five-player GBI team that beat Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa in 2011 Astor Trophy team match-play tournament.
Great-Britain-Ireland will be striving to win the Curtis Cup for the first time since beating the United States 11 1/2 to 6 1/2 at Killarney, Ireland, in 1996. The American team has won seven of these biennial matches in a row, the longest U.S. winning streak since 1960 to 1984.