I would most likely hold a one day tournament where the winner gets the spot. This helps resolve two of the possible problems - sending a qualified professional player, and help raising funds for the traveling player.
I do also like the essay idea. My basic philosophy regarding the USDGC is send the best player available. However, I would also like to send the most deserving player as well, and that opens the field up to a variety of people and skills.
The choice belongs to the coordinator, and is one of the perks of holding that position. Magilla never sent himself and I respect that, however, I would have no qualms if he had in fact sent himself. He is a good player, contributor of the sport, and would thoroughly enjoy himself there. Lord knows I would be tempted to send myself if I were to fail in qualifying through my performances at big events.
Magilla said he'd beat me up though if I sent myself
Luckily I am a third degree black belt...