15th November 2022
The USGA’s International Team Selection Committee announced today that it had invited 16 players to attend a USA Walker Cup practice session on 15-18 December 2022 in Jupiter, Florida.
The following players have accepted invitations: –
Evan BECK, 32, of Virginia Beach, VA (Wake Forest, 2013 graduate)
– SPWAR #171 / WAGR #66 *
Michael BRENNAN, 20, of Leesburg, VA (Wake Forest, junior)
– SPWAR #29 / WAGR #18
David FORD, 20, of Peachtree Corners, GA (North Carolina, sophomore)
– SPWAR #5 / WAGR #7
Nicholas GABRELCIK, 20, of Trinity, FL (North Florida, junior)
– SPWAR #12 / WAGR #9
Stewart HAGESTAD, 31, of Newport Beach, CA (South. Cal., 2013 grad.)
– SPWAR #118 / WAGR #8
Derek HITCHNER, 23, of Minneapolis, MN (Pepperdine, grad. student)
– SPWAR #20 / WAGR #36
Palmer JACKSON, 21, of Murrysville, PA (Notre Dame, senior)
– SPWAR #30 / WAGR #43
Benjamin JAMES, 17, of Milford, CT (Virginia, freshman)
– SPWAR #33 / WAGR #21
Bryce LEWIS, 22, of Hendersonville, TN (Tennessee, junior)
– SPWAR #17 / WAGR #30
Dylan MENANTE, 21, of Carlsbad, CA (North Carolina, senior)
– SPWAR #9 / WAGR #6
Maxwell MOLDOVAN, 20, of Uniontown, OH (Ohio State, junior)
– SPWAR #11 / WAGR #23
Gordon SARGENT, 19, of Birmingham, AL (Vanderbilt, sophomore)
– SPWAR #4 / WAGR #3
Cole SHERWOOD, 20, of Austin, TX (Vanderbilt, junior)
– SPWAR #18 / WAGR #12
Ross STEELMAN, 21, of Atlanta, GA (Georgia Tech, senior)
– SPWAR #14 / WAGR #22
Caleb SURRATT, 18, of Indian Trail, NC (Tennessee, freshman)
– SPWAR #3 / WAGR #13
Michael THORBJORNSEN, 21, of Wellesley, MA (Stanford, junior)
– SPWAR #1 / WAGR #4
Stewart Hagestad, the 2016 and 2021 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, is the only player with previous Walker Cup experience (in 2017, 2019, 2021) to be attending the practice session.
Notable omissions include William MOUW (SPWAR #6 / WAGR #15), Austen GREASER (SPWAR #7 / WAGR #5), Sam BENNETT (SPWAR #8 / WAGR #2), Travis VICK (SPWAR #15 / WAGR #10) Kelly CHINN (SPWAR #19 / WAGR #90), Ben CARR (SPWAR #21 / WAGR #56), Ricky CASTILLO (SPWAR #27 / WAGR #24) and John BUTLER (SPWAR #28 / WAGR #39). These players are expected to turn pro once the college season has been completed in May 2023 and all are believed to have excused themselves.
The arrival of LIV Golf, who have shown an interest in signing up top amateurs, and subsequent changes to the PGA Tour University programme, which is now offering the No. 1 college player direct access to the PGA Tour after the conclusion of the NCAA Div. I Championship, are both expected to accentuate the above issue, particularly where graduated seniors are concerned.
USA Team Practice Session (Graphic: USGA)
Mike McCoy, captain of the 2023 USA Team, said “The young golf talent in this country is impressive, and I’m thrilled to gather with this group for a practice session next month. We have a strong list of young men attending; a mixture of seasoned veterans as well as up-and-coming stalwarts of the amateur game. I’m excited to spend more time with this group.”
John Bodenhamer, USGA chief championships officer, said “This serves as another step in the process of team selection and is an opportunity for all involved to become more familiar with each other and begin to build team camaraderie. These decorated amateurs represent a talented group of potential team members, but we expect others will also be considered as the selection process moves toward its conclusion.”
Picking up on this final point 10 of the 16 players from the December 2020 USA practice session competed in the May 2021 match at Seminole whilst 7 of the 16 players who attended the December 2018 practice session made the final USA Team for the 2019 match at Royal Liverpool.
The 49th Match will be played on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland on 2nd-3rd September 2023.
* Amateur rankings as at 15th November 2022.
Copyright © Mark Eley. All rights reserved.