National champions to secure automatic spots in Home Internationals side from this year
By SCG Newsdesk
The winners of the Scottish Men's, Women's, Boys' and Girls' Amateur Championships will all secure automatic spots in their respective Scotland Home Internationals sides from this season. Stuart Clayton, the new Acting Head of Performance for Scottish Golf, has initiated the selection change with the governing body, which will come into effect when the Home Internationals sides are picked this summer.
The exceptions will be the Scottish Senior Men's and Women's Amateur Championships, both of which are 'open' events, where competitors from other countries take part. If the Seniors' champions are not eligible to represent Scotland, the automatic place will be passed to the respective selection committee to determine who receives the call-up.
The move will eliminate the possibility of a national champion not being involved in the events, as was the case last year when Ailsa Summers was left out of the women's Home Internationals side, despite having won the Scottish Women's Amateur title.
"In all of our Scottish Amateur Championships, apart from the Senior Men's, the winners will have come through head-to-head matchplay format, which mirrors the style played at the Home Internationals," said Clayton.
"We therefore feel the champion will have demonstrated the capabilities required to perform well at the Homes and thus would be deserving of an automatic place."
In August, the Men's Home Internationals take place at Moortown, the Boys' event at St Annes Old Links and the Ladies & Girls' Home Internationals at Little Aston. The Senior Ladies' go to Newport in October, with the Senior Men's event being staged at Rosslare in September.
The updated selection policy changes come hot on the heels of several changes to Scottish Golf's national events programme, with the new-look Scottish Men's Amateur Championship featuring strokeplay qualifying across two venues - Prestwick and Prestwick St Cuthbert - while the Scottish Boys Amateur Championship moves from its traditional early season slot to be played concurrently alongside its Girls' equivalent, hosted by Scotscraig and Drumoig respectively at the end of June.
In a further new addition for 2017, domestic Order of Merit points will now be awarded at both male and female level for the leading 16 players in strokeplay qualifying for the Scottish championships and British championships, aided by the revised formats in the Scottish Men's and Boys' events.
"The awarding of points will offer a small bonus for the players, rewarding good performances in the stroke play stages, underlining it as being a key area for player development," added Clayton.
• What do you make of these selection tweaks? Good move? Bad move? Email you thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org