Ireland's top amateurs may be encouraged to play more at home following the GUI's decision to announce "new selection criteria" for its senior men's teams in 2018.
In what the GUI says is part of its strategy to be "more open and transparent in its operations", results in overseas events will no longer count towards the Willie Gill Order of Merit, now limited the eight main domestic championships, when that list is used as part of the selection process.
The domestic list will again have a bearing on the make-up of teams selected for the three-man World Amateur Team Championship team (Eisenhower Trophy) at Carton House, the six-man European Amateur Team Championship in Berlin and especially the Home Internationals with the top two in the Willie Gill Order of Merit guaranteed a place on the 11-man team that will try to win the Raymond Trophy for the fifth year running at Conwy in Wales in September.
Niall MacSweeney, Convenor of the GUI’s High-Performance Committee said: "This is a first step for the Union in introducing selection criteria.
"It's aimed at giving players clarity in relation to how team selections are made but it's very much the start of a process and one that will be reviewed at the end of the season.
"We will listen to player and selector's feedback on the process before deciding on the way forward beyond 2018."
The lion’s share of the power remains with the selectors, however, who plan to consider the following criteria when making their choices:
- Player performances at major amateur championships at home and overseas
- World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR)
- Willie Gill Order of Merit position
- Player performances in team events
- Player interviews
- Improved profile of results
However, in a departure from last year, when the Willie Gill Perpetual Award captured by John Ross Galbraith comprised 20 events, only the eight domestic championships will count towards selection in 2018:
West of Ireland, Co Sligo (28 Mar-3 Apr); Munster Stroke Play, Cork GC (May 5-6); Flogas Irish Amateur Open, Royal County Down (May 17-20); East of Ireland, Co Louth GC (Jun. 1-4); Connacht Stroke Play, Portumna GC (Jun. 9-10); North of Ireland, Royal Portrush GC (Jul. 9-13); South of Ireland, Lahinch GC (Jul. 25-29); and the AIG Irish Close, The European Club (Aug. 4-8).
The High-Performance Committee has also revealed they will select players for this year's biggest events as follows:
*European Amateur Team Championships, Berlin, July 10-14
- Top 2 players in WAGR
- 4 chosen by the selection committee.
*World Amateur Team Championship (Eisenhower Trophy), Carton House, September 5-8
- Leading player in WAGR automatically selected
- 2 players chosen by the selection committee.
*Home Internationals, Conwy, September 12-14
- Top 4 players on WAGR
- Top 2 from the Willie Gill Order of Merit
- 5 players chosen by the selection committee
*Should a player be unavailable or in the case of the Home Internationals, meet more than one of the automatic selection criteria, the selection will not be transferrable and will instead become a Selection Committee Pick. For example, if one of the top 4 Irish players on WAGR is in the top-2 on the Willie Gill at the time of selection, the automatic pick will not move down to the player placed third on the Willie Gill and will instead revert to the Selection Committee.