Decision to exclude Hull from B-I Curtis Cup team prompts big reaction

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At age 15, Charley Hull is one of five amateurs worldwide invited to play in the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship, though it might cost her a place in the Curtis Cup.
By news services

Series: LPGA Tour

Published: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 | 5:43 p.m.

England Golf Union Chief Executive John Petrie is asking the Ladies Golf Union to think again about its decision to exclude 15-year-old Charley Hull from the Britain-Ireland Curtis Cup team this summer.

Hull, ninth in the world amateur rankings, has been told she won't be allowed to play because she plans to skip a team practice at Nairn in Scotland on March 23-25. Nairn will host the Curtis Cup on June 8-10.

Instead, Hull plans to be in the United States, where she has been invited to play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first LPGA Tour major of the season, which begins March 29. She is one of five amateurs invited to compete.

"We made it plain to the players that if they didn't play in the training session, they wouldn't play in the match," said LGU Head of Golf Operations Susan Simpson. They signed an agreement."

Petrie agreed that player agreements are important, but stressed that the ultimate aim is to win the Curtis Cup.

"For a 15-year-old player, ranked ninth in the world, to be invited to play in one of golf's majors is an outstanding achievement and for Charley to be punished for her success makes no sense," he said.

"I hope the LGU has sufficient flexibility to revisit this decision and be able to select the best eight players for the team," he added. "The only winner here is the USA Curtis Cup team."

Hull's place in the squad has been taken by fellow 15-year-old Georgia Hall. Her world ranking is 683rd -- 674 places below Hull.

Hull is the reigning English and Welsh strokeplay champion and a winner in January’s Harder Hall Invitational on Florida’s Orange Blossom Tour. Her success led to her invitation to play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

The LGU’s decision prompted much criticism from other players.

"For what it's worth Charley is making the right decision to play in Kraft, the experience gained from it is priceless," said England's Karen Stupples, a former Women's British Open champion, via Twitter. Added Scotland's Catriona Matthew, another previous Open champion, "Ridiculous! Surely the LGU would want to have their best possible team. Charley would and should be a lock regardless."