138. Bandon Dunes To Host The 2029 Walker Cup Match

20th July 2021

The USGA has announced that the 2029 Walker Cup match will be staged at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon.

Neither the course – Bandon has five – or the match dates have been confirmed.

18th Hole, Bandon Dunes Course (Photo: Bandon Dunes Golf Resort)

The USGA has entered into a partnership with Bandon Dunes which will see 13 of its championships / international matches staged at the resort between 2022 and 2045.

The Walker Cup will be played in 2029 and the Curtis Cup in 2038.

Bandon Dunes has previously hosted the 2006 Curtis Cup (Pacific Dunes), the 2007 U.S. Mid-Amateur (Bandon Dunes), the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links & U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links (Old Macdonald & Bandon Trails), the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four Ball (Pacific Dunes), the 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball (Old Macdonald & Pacific Dunes) and the 2020 U.S. Amateur (Bandon Dunes & Bandon Trails).

John Bodenhamer, USGA Senior Managing Director of Championships, said “With five championship-caliber courses and incredible support from the resort’s ownership, Bandon Dunes is the perfect location for these USGA championships. Mike Keiser has been an incredible advocate for amateur golf and his ongoing support for the USGA and our mission served as the vision for this partnership. We are excited to work together for years to come.”

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2021, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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137. 2021 Walker Cup – Day 2 Results

Sunday 9th May 2021

USA ran out 14-12 winners against GB&I in the 48th Walker Cup match played at Seminole GC in Florida. It was USA’s third consecutive win in the biennial contest.

The USA’s narrow advantage was primarily secured due to the efforts of 20-year-old Ricky Castillo and second time Walker Cupper Cole Hammer. Castillo was unbeaten becoming just the seventh player on either team to post four wins in a single Walker Cup match this century. Meanwhile Hammer, the University of Texas junior standout, won three and halved one of his games.

From GB&I’s perspective Matty Lamb, Mark Power and Jack Dyer put up the most resistance, all taking the fight to the Americans. Perhaps critically Alex Fitzpatrick, their highest ranked player and the only one with Walker Cup experience, lost all four of the games he played in.

Sunday saw great playing conditions with temperatures peaking in the mid 80°’s. The wind was slightly stronger than yesterday with gusts as high as 22mph seen.

Day 2 Foursomes (USA Team first)
Par 72 – 7,212 yards

Game 1 – 8.20am
Pierceson Coody / John Pak lost to Mark Power / John Murphy by 1 Hole

The Irish pair made a great start to their foursomes game on Sunday, opening with two birdies and an eagle to a take a 3Up lead. It was a lead they held until the 17th, the par 3 whose green has proven almost impossible to hold throughout the match. As has happened more often than not to date USA were able to get up and down whilst GB&I were not. Nevertheless Power and Murphy were not to be beaten, the former hit the 18th fairway before Murphy hit a clutch 5 iron to the heart of the green. After Coody missed the green left, rolling down the steep incline on to the range, the best they could do was a 5. Power judged his 20 foot downhill putt to perfection to enable GB&I to pick up the first point of the day whilst also maintaining his 100% record.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 2 – 8.35am
Ricky Castillo / William Mouw beat Alex Fitzpatrick / Barclay Brown by 1 Hole

Taking his individual record to P3-W3 Ricky Castillo is proving to be the surprise star man for USA at this Walker Cup. The Yorkshire pairing of Fitzpatrick and Brown did well to fight back having gone 3Down after six holes. Unfortunately having taken a 1Up lead on the 16th Fitzpatrick missed both the 17th green and 18th green and despite excellent recoveries by his partner was unable to hole putts to save the day when it was most required.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 3 – 8.50am
Davis Thompson / Cole Hammer halved with Angus Flanagan / Ben Schmidt

If GB&I do go on to make a real match of this in the Singles later today it will be this Foursomes that will be seen as the turning point. 3Down with four holes to play most observers had already given the point to the American side. However, Flanagan and Schmidt had other ideas and a storming finish saw them miraculously secure a half. It must be said that the Americans found really poor lies on the final two holes but it is one thing having a bit of luck, it’s another to be good enough to take advantage of it. Flanagan’s bunker shot and pitch on the final two holes were top class in this regard.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 4 – 9.05am
Stewart Hagestad / Tyler Strafaci lost to Matty Lamb / Jack Dyer by 6&5

GB&I’s Lamb and Dyer pairing, who had lost on the opening day, played beautifully this morning to thrash Hagestad and Strafaci by 6&5, the biggest winning margin seen in the match to date. I am confident the four birdies and no bogeys in their opening 13 holes would have been too good for any of the American pairings.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Players Rested
USA – Quade Cummins, Austin Eckroat 
GB&I – Ben Jones, Joe Long

In another tight Foursomes series GB&I will be delighted to have come out on top. With a number of the American players looking nervy down the stretch this morning and their lead now reduced to just 1-point it’s certainly all to play for going into the final 10 Singles.

Day 2 Foursomes Score: USA 1.5 – GB&I 2.5

______________________________________________

Day 2 Singles (USA Team first)
Par 72 – 7,198 yards

Game 1 – 2.15pm
Austin Eckroat beat Mark Power by 7&6

A disappointing finish to the match from Kilkenny’s Mark Power who had previously been unbeaten. Perhaps mentally and physically exhausted after his earlier exertions the fresher Austin Eckroat, who was rested in the morning, got off to a good start and to his credit kept pushing with some very solid play.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 2 – 2.26pm
Pierceson Coody beat Alex Fitzpatrick by 3&1

Pierceson Coody was too good for Alex Fitzpatrick for the second day running. Whilst the Englishman, who has now lost all four of his games, battled to the end he was found wanting down the stretch with a number of mistakes that enabled Coody to see the match out in relative comfort.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 3 – 2.37pm
John Pak lost to Joe Long by 1 Hole

2up with two holes to play the reigning Amateur Champion Joe Long made hard work of securing GB&I’s first point in the Singles. It took an unbelievable 18th hole for the Gloucestershire man, playing in his only game of the match due to illness, to secure his point. Having won the 17th Pak confidently hit the middle of the 18th fairway. In reply Long duck hooked his into the shoreline cabbage. Having taken a drop he then found the green side bunker in three. With a half virtually in his hands Pak misjudged the wind with his won approach and found the lateral hazard to the left of the green. Having taken a drop the experienced American then duffed his chip into a bunker before taking three to get down. A disbelieving Long gratefully secured a half in six to take the point for GB&I. If only Long had been able to play a few mores sessions wondered the GB&I supporters.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 4 – 2.48pm
Davis Thompson lost to Matty Lamb by 2 Holes

Matty Lamb won GB&I’s second point in the Singles with an impressive win over an out of sorts Davis Thompson. His magnificent tee shot and birdie on 17, the hardest hole on the course, and controlled par on 18 should give him a great deal of confidence for his future career in the pro ranks. Lamb was one of the few GB&I players to look comfortable in these rarefied surroundings, largely in control of both himself and his game throughout.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 5 – 2.59pm
Quade Cummins halved with Barclay Brown

A half was arguably the right result in this close game albeit Brown who had won three holes in a row from the 15th to take the lead on the 17th will be disappointed to have given up a full point with a bogey on the last. Nevertheless the Stanford player should be pleased with his unbeaten Singles record over the weekend.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 6 – 3.10pm
William Mouw lost to Angus Flanagan by 1 Hole

Despite holding the the lead throughout his match against the competitive William Mouw Angus Flanagan had to dig deep to finally get the job done. 2Up with two to play he needed a clutch 35 foot par putt on the home hole to close out the Californian.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 7 – 3.21pm
Ricky Castillo beat John Murphy by 2&1

Ricky Castillo finished the match as the only player to record a 100% record, played 4, won 4. Like his compatriot Mark Power, Murphy look spent from his earlier exertions. He quickly handed Castillo the advantage in the opening holes and never really looked like being able to turn it around against an opponent playing with confidence and freedom.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 8 – 3.32pm
Tyler Strafaci lost to Jack Dyer by 1 Hole

Jack Dyer made it two wins out of two on Sunday with a memorable win against the 2020 US Amateur champion. Tyler Strafaci reported that he had lost 15lbs as a result of the virus in the last few days. The Essex player, who only made the starting line up when Sandy Scott withdrew due to injury, took control early in the back nine. However, despite being 3Up with four holes to play it looked like he would end up halving after losing both the 15th and 17th and then hitting a poor tee shot on 18. Thankfully he was ultimately able to scramble a half in bogey to seal the full point.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 9 – 3.43pm
Cole Hammer beat Ben Schmidt by 4&3

Having lost to Ricky Castillo by 5&3 in the Saturday Singles Ben Schmidt was again soundly beaten; this time 4&3 by Cole Hammer. As the scores below show Schmidt doesn’t appear to have played that badly but Hammer was simply at his imperious best. 18 year old Schmidt’s lack of experience and recent competitive play was always going to make this Walker Cup a tough ask for him.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 10 – 3.54pm
Stewart Hagestad beat Ben Jones by 4&2

Despite being handed the early initiative Ben Jones sadly lost his way on the back nine against Stewart Hagestad who was clearly determined to contribute at least one point to the USA team’s cause in his third Walker Cup match. Like Schmidt in the preceding game Jones looked undercooked. Perhaps the virus that had hit them both particularly badly meant they were simply unable to summon the fight that is normally required to be competitive at this level.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Day 2 Singles Score: USA 5.5 – GB&I 4.5

Day 2 Score: USA 7 – GB&I 7

Final Result: USA 14 – GB&I 12 

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2021, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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136. 2021 Walker Cup – Day 1 Results

Saturday 8th May 2021

Play on Saturday took place in near perfect conditions with temperatures quickly rising to 80°. Winds speeds were relatively modest for Seminole rising from 5mph to 15mph as play progressed throughout the day.

DAY 1 SCORE: USA 7 – GB&I 5

Day 1 Foursomes (USA Team first)
Par 72 – 7,272 yards

Game 1 – 8.20am
Cole Hammer / Davis Thompson beat Alex Fitzpatrick / Barclay Brown by 1 Hole

Amazingly after halving the first two holes the following 15 were all won outright in what became a see-saw game. Having won the 8th and 9th the GB&I pair turned 1Up but three bogeys on the first four holes of the back nine saw the advantage quickly handed back to Hammer and Thompson. However, just when it looked like the game may peter out Yorkshire’s Brown and Fitzpatrick got on a roll themselves winning the next three holes. However, Thompson then found the difficult 17th green and, despite a superb fairway bunker shot from Fitzpatrick on the last, Hammer holed out for birdie from 25 feet to secure an opening win for the home team.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 2 – 8.35am
Quade Cummins / Austin Eckroat lost to Mark Power / John Murphy by 1 Hole

The Irish pairing of Mark Power and John Murphy showed great resilience to come back from 3 Down after 10 holes to secure GB&I’s first point at Seminole. 1-under for their last 8 holes proved too much of an ask for the Americans. Power was quick to praise Murphy afterwards: “The old head in the group, he calmed me down and just said, look, just hit the fairways, hit greens and we’ll wear these guys down, and that’s what we did.”

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 3 – 8.50am
Mac Meissner / Ricky Castillo beat Jack Dyer / Matty Lamb by 2 Holes

Due to the virus USA called upon their first alternate Mac Meissner in the Saturday foursomes. Paired with University of Florida debutant Ricky Castillo the pair secured a second point helped in no small part by three birdies in their last five holes. A delighted Meissner said after the match: “I was so nervous on that first tee ball that I hit it on to the second hole, but after that we both calmed down and we played some awesome golf coming in.”

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 4 – 9.05am
Stewart Hagestad / William Mouw lost to Angus Flanagan / Jake Bolton by 1 Hole

This was the fourth foursomes game that required the full 18 holes to reach a result. However, it proved to be a much tighter affair than those that had proceeded it with just 7 holes changing hands. In the end the difference proved to be the determined GB&I 1st reserve Jake Bolton. His clutch left-to-right swinging 30 foot par putt on 17 and towering iron into the 18th to 8 feet from the adjacent driving range secured the point that enabled GB&I to head into lunch level in the match at 2-2.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Players Rested
USA – Pierceson Coody, John Pak, Tyler Strafaci
GB&I – Ben Jones, Joe Long, Ben Schmidt

Day 1 Foursomes Score: USA 2 – GB&I 2

The Saturday Foursomes was the first time in the history of the match that reserves or alternates had been used during a Walker Cup match. Interestingly they both contributed to their respective sides winning a point in the opening session.

With such tight matches Captain Wilson was frustrated with some of his team’s course management: “Three of our guys knocked it in the water at No. 10 and all the matches went up the last. That may have changed the outcome.”

______________________________________________

Day 1 Singles (USA Team first)
Par 72 – 7,188 yards

Game 1 – 2.30pm
Pierceson Coody beat Alex Fitzpatrick by 2 Holes

In a competitive opening match Alex Fitzpatrick made a great start before being reeled in by Pierceson Coody, one of the strongest players on the American team. The key hole proved to be the par 3 17th where Coody pulled his tee shot into one of the left hand green side bunkers. With the players all square and the door ajar Fitzpatrick failed to find the green and after two bunker shots his double bogey five was never going to be good enough. A wild tee shot from Coody on the home hole briefly offered some hope before a superb recovery closed the door on the Sheffield man.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 2 – 2.41pm
Davis Thompson lost to Mark Power 3&2

An outstanding result from Mark Power who took down the current WAGR #3 and former #1 to record his second win of the day. Power played beautifully, hitting fairways and greens and holing numerous long putts. Having created a 3Up lead after birdies on 10 and 11 the Wake Forest sophomore ultimately saw out the match comfortably.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 3 – 2.52pm
Ricky Castillo beat Ben Schmidt by 5&3

Ricky Castillo recorded his second win of the day against a clearly under the weather Ben Schmidt. The 18 year old Yorkshireman struggled to get anything going and was easily taken down by the Californian by the biggest score of the match so far.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 4 – 3.03pm
William Mouw beat Ben Jones by 4&3

Shortly after the announcement that Joe Long would not be able to take part in Game 5 it became clear that Tyler Strafaci was also not feeling well enough to play this afternoon. William Mouw was drafted in as his late replacement. Mouw bounced back well from his morning foursomes defeat and as Jones unwound on the back nine he pulled away to record an impressive 4&3 win.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 5 – 3.14pm
Quade Cummins lost to Matty Lamb by 2&1

Joe Long was initially selected for GB&I for this game but due to continued illness he was deemed unfit to play. Matty Lamb, who had lost his foursome earlier, was called up and after Quade Cummins got off to a slow start he went about earning a notable victory. A 12 foot par putt on the 17th saw him home.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 6 – 3.25pm
Austin Eckroat beat Angus Flanagan by 1 Hole

Angus Flanagan did exactly what Alex Fitzpatrick had done on the 17th an hour or so before him. Followed his opponent into a bunker on the par 3 and then found it impossible to get the ball back on the green. After a nervous start which saw him bogey three of his first four holes Flanagan settled well and a string of pars got him back into the match. He fought all the way to the end but GB&I’s nemesis, the 17th, proved too much for him.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 7 – 3.36pm
John Pak lost to Barclay Brown by 2&1

Barclay Brown beat John Pak with some great play this afternoon. Pak, who won all three of his games at Hoylake in 2019, was clearly not 100% but nevertheless this was a notable scalp for the Stanford sophomore. What was particularly impressive was his ability to come back again over the closing holes having lost a 3Up lead early on the back nine.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 8 – 3.47pm
John Murphy lost to Cole Hammer by 3&1

Starting with two birdies out the gate Cole Hammer built up a 5Up lead by the turn against Kinsale’s John Murphy who had enjoyed foursomes success earlier in the day. Murphy battled back well on the back nine reducing the deficit to 2Up before once again the 17th hole struck.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Players Rested
USA – Stewart Hagestad, Mac Meissner (Reserve), Tyler Strafaci
GB&I – Jake Bolton (Reserve), Jack Dyer, Joe Long

Day 1 Singles Score: USA 5 – GB&I 3

One can’t help feeling that the match just started to slip away from the GB&I team this afternoon. A 5-3 Singles loss is by no means disastrous against a strong USA team but it could have been better. The defeats of Fitzpatrick and Flanagan in tight games may prove to be the difference between having a chance and having no chance. I expect USA to get stronger tomorrow so the challenge for GB&I is only going to get tougher. It will be interesting to see who is up for the fight.

Day 1 Score: USA 7 – GB&I 5

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2021, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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135. Best Quotes From The 2021 Walker Cup Press Conferences

Friday 7th May 2021

Due to the food poisoning the pre-match press conferences have been limited in scope. Here’s the most interesting stuff that has been said at Seminole to date: –

PREPARATION

STUART WILSON:
The preparation hasn’t been what we were hoping for. The season was pretty much decimated as far as a full schedule of events, and not just a full schedule of events but events where all the guys would be playing together.  

A number of years ago the whole plan was to — I was the Chairman of Selectors for the boys team and that was a bit of succession planning in there that hopefully I would take over as the Walker Cup captain and have had experience working with the guys before and bringing similar guys into the team. So 50 percent of the team we’ve had playing together in the past on Jacques Leglise teams, have played for GB&I together, and we’re all very familiar with each other to the point that it’s like old friends meeting up in some respects.

STUART WILSON:
We arrived Saturday, and we started to assemble the team from all corners of America and the UK. The first time we were all truly together was Sunday, and that’s when we came up to Seminole for our first look. We played nine holes, and since then we’ve been doing a lot of work with our team preparations on the course and within the team room. It’s been really good so far. 

Everybody is coming together, bonding well, and we’ve had a few kind of special guests along the way. We had a little visit from Matt Fitzpatrick on Monday, so Matt walked the course with the guys, gave us a lot of good constructive feedback, and we had the same yesterday with Paul McGinley. Great resources to tap into and hear what they’ve got to say about the best way to kind of tackle things, not just the course but the match itself. So the prep so far has been really good.

JOHN MURPHY: 
I’m just getting to know the course, I suppose, and getting familiar with our teammates. Thankfully we’ve had a great week so far. Everybody is getting on great. The atmosphere in the team room is amazing. So I think we’re all kind of on the same page where we’re just trying to prepare for the course as best as possible. 

ALEX FITZPATRICK: 
I think it’s such a long week to start with. From the last time at Hoylake, it was kind of like I tried to go out and play most days, and I think I ended up preparing in a way that probably best didn’t suit me, just sort of playing too much golf, and I feel like this time around, I learnt that it’s not all about playing 18 as many times as you can but pacing yourself and maybe playing nine here and there and just making sure that you don’t overdo yourself because by the time come Saturday and Sunday, you’re playing 36 a day, especially in the heat, it’s going to be tough, and you don’t want to be burned out before you even start. 

ALEX FITZPATRICK:
I think the thing I took from the last one was to understand that there’s going to be a lot of people out there. There’s going to be cameras behind you and there’s going to be people applauding you and there are probably going to be people speaking on your backswing, and I think that’s something you’ve got to realize and get used to. There’s going to be 36 holes a day of all of that, and especially this week rather than last year, there will be a lot more supporters against us than with us, so probably a little less applauding for good shots for our team and more for theirs.

THE 2021 EXPERIENCE

ALEX FITZPATRICK: 
This year’s Walker Cup has been a lot different to the one at Hoylake. COVID is such an unfortunate thing. The experience has still been phenomenal and it’s still everything I could have asked for, but just little things like having to sit six feet away from people at dinner and not being able to be with your team all the time is frustrating, but it’s something that you have to do and you have to live with, and the week itself is still going to be amazing.

COLE HAMMER: 
(I’m) really just trying to get the guys fired up to compete for their country because I remember standing on the first tee last time and how cool of an experience it was. I also remember how fast it was over. So I want to kind of encourage the guys to really sit there and soak it in and enjoy it because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and to be ready to go out and represent the United States. 

GB&I’S POSSIBLE MATCH PLAY ADVANTAGE

ALEX FITZPATRICK: 
A lot of these (GB&I) guys, if not all of them, have all played some form of match play before, so everyone is used to either playing foursomes or singles, and everyone is used to being in that environment, and I think that’s what’s good about our team is that we’ve all played that, and I feel like some of the Americans just haven’t been in that format and obviously playing foursomes together. 

PLAYING SEMINOLE

JOHN MURPHY: 
There’s obviously a lot of tricks out there. The greens are fairly slopey and wouldn’t be anything like what we’re used to, so we’re just going to try to get a feel for that. We’ve got two days left; I think we’ve put in some great practice so far, so we’re all just getting ready for that first tee shot on Saturday morning. 

(The greens running at 14 on the stimpmeter) is certainly going to add an element of excitement I would say. None of us are used to it. I’d say a lot of Tour pros aren’t even used to it, and then adding wind on top of that slope and green quickness is going to be pretty interesting. Might be a bit of carnage out there at times, so looking forward to that, as well, and hopefully we can manage it to the best of our ability. 

STUART WILSON: 
It’s a second-shot course. You’ve got to be really smart with your approach shots into the green. It has been windy every day we’ve been here. It’s been pretty much the same wind for all the practice days so far, so they’re getting to know it playing this way. There is talk of the wind having a complete shift over the weekend from one day to the next, so that will make it really interesting because we won’t have played it in that condition.

The greens are fast. Like lightning fast. But as far as playing the course, windy, a little bit firm. We’re not too unfamiliar with those kind of conditions, so the guys are coping with it pretty good. 

ALEX FITZPATRICK:
Yeah, I love it here personally. I’ve been lucky enough to have been invited to play here a couple times, so I feel like I have got the experience of playing here a lot. It sets up great for me, and I know it sets up great for a lot of other guys on our team, and it’s a lot of bombs-away drivers really, which makes me a little happy.

COLE HAMMER: 
Seminole is obviously one of the most well-known, and for a good reason, best golf courses in the world. I cannot think of a better course to play a Walker Cup match on. I mean, the strategy involved in it, the little intricacies around the greens, short game is vital. It’s just going to test every aspect of our game, and it’s in unbelievable shape right now, so kudos to the superintendent and his staff for getting it in this good of shape, especially after the rain we had last night. The golf course is going to hold up well, and it’ll be a big part of the storyline. 

THURSDAY’S STORMS

ALEX FITZPATRICK:
The torrential rain that happened yesterday was crazy. We couldn’t get out of our team room. We were stranded in there for about two hours, and we were looking out the window and seeing that the whole course was underwater. Being out there today we were spinning chips back and you could just tell that the course was just a little damp and I’d say it will make it a bit more for target golf, but at the same time that can be a bit dangerous with all the runoffs. Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how much it’s affected play with what you prepared for at the start of the week and what today (Friday) has been.

GB&I HOPES OF WINNING

STUART WILSON: 
We know there’s only been two teams that have been successful over here, which shows it’s not impossible. But we’ve had a look at the numbers, and yeah, there’s been 310 (GB&I) Walker Cup players, 84 of those have played on winning sides but only 20 have played on a winning side in America. We’re trying to make that 30 basically. 

STUART WILSON: 
We’d never say we’re outsiders because certainly with the format of the match and how 18 holes of match play, everybody knows anything can happen at any time. 

As far as kind of being up against it, you’re always up against it when you come, it doesn’t matter what school you generally play in, America is always going to be strong.

We’re going to have very, very few GB&I spectators here cheering us on, so we can use that to our advantage, as well, to kind of spur the guys on to not so much prove a point but use it as a motivation to do as well as they can. 

ALEX FITZPATRICK: 
Putting points on the board early is probably the most important thing you can do, making sure that the guys behind you can all see that you’re getting that blue on the board as early as you can and getting the points, and I guess just trying to rack up enough points to make sure that you win. 

Golf is a funny game, and all you can do is go out there, and if you give your best, that’s all you can do really. So yeah. 

JOHN MURPHY: 
Once that first tee shot comes around it doesn’t really matter who you are or what you’ve done, just a matter of going head-to-head with whoever you’re against, so yeah, we’re looking forward to that. 

FOOD POISONING

JOHN MURPHY (speaking on Thursday): 
Yeah, there were a couple of us that have been unwell a couple of nights ago, but thankfully we’re all good now. Myself and Angus. I don’t know what it was to be honest with you. I think we’re both back feeling okay and ready to play some golf today, and get ready.

ALEX FITZPATRICK:
It’s a stomach bug, and I guess it’s gone around both teams. It’s a little bit of adversity to deal with, but I think it only lasts for 12 to 24 hours or something, so hopefully we have the full team back by tomorrow (Saturday). 

I think it (started) around Tuesday or Wednesday. We had a couple of guys sort of fall ill and I guess we weren’t sure what it was to start with. It was weird, we had two guys from each team apparently go, and the next day we thought people would get better and then suddenly four guys were out.

COLE HAMMER:
It’s obviously unfortunate. All 20 guys have worked really hard over the last two years to make this team, and to kind of have an issue like this is no fun. But everybody is making the most of it. We’re pushing through, and we’re just kind of having to make some decisions on the fly here. 

You know, it’s all been happening so fast that one guy goes down, the next guy goes down. But we’re all trying to rally around each other. But we’ll be just fine. I promise we’ll be ready to go tomorrow no matter what the deal is.

_____________________________________________

It’s now time for the talking to stop and the playing to start.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2021, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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133. Jack Dyer Replaces Sandy Scott In The GB&I Walker Cup Team

14th April 2021

The R&A has announced that Sandy SCOTT has been forced to withdraw from the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup team due to a wrist ligament injury.

Scott first picked up the injury in October 2020 and subsequently underwent minor surgery in January. He had originally been expected to return to competitive action for Texas Tech University in mid-March. However, having missed a number of recent college events it had become clear that his recovery was not going as planned.

The R&A had been obligated to select Scott at the end of March, despite his lack of recent play, due to him being one of the two highest ranked GB&I players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He was 8th in WAGR and GB&I’s highest ranked player when the Selection Committee met.

Jack DYER will now step up from first reserve to take his place in the GB&I side that will play USA in 24 days time at Seminole Golf Club on 8th-9th May. Dyer enjoyed an excellent tour of South Africa earlier this year and should arrive match fit and with confidence.

Jack Dyer – South African Amateur Medalist (Photo: Ernest Blignault / Golf RSA)

Following this change the GB&I team will now consist of 8 English players and 2 Irish with no Scottish or Welsh representation.

Jake BOLTON moves up to first reserve.

Florida-based Englishman Joe PAGDIN (19) has been added to the squad as second reserve. The University of Florida freshman has plenty of experience and has previously successfully represented GB&I in the Jacques Leglise Trophy and England in the R&A Boys’ Home Internationals and the European Boys Amateur Team Championship.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2021, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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132. The R&A Announce The 2021 GB&I Walker Cup Team

30th March 2021

The R&A have today announced their 10-man Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) team for the 48th Walker Cup match to be played against USA on 8th-9th May at Seminole G.C. in Florida.

GB&I Team (Graphic: The R&A)

Here is a list of the players with their nationalities, ages and current amateur rankings: –

Team

Barclay BROWN – England (20) – SPWAR #65 / WAGR #134

Alex FITZPATRICK – England (22) – SPWAR #18 / WAGR #14

Angus FLANAGAN – England (21) – SPWAR #110 / WAGR #40

Ben JONES – England (21) – SPWAR #86 / WAGR #41

Matty LAMB – England (23) – SPWAR #113 / WAGR #85

Joe LONG – England (23) – SPWAR #31 / WAGR #48

John MURPHY – Ireland (22) – SPWAR #63 / WAGR #99

Mark POWER – Ireland (20) – SPWAR #52 / WAGR #29

Ben SCHMIDT – England (18) – SPWAR #78 / WAGR #31

Sandy SCOTT – Scotland (22) – SPWAR #241 / WAGR #8

Reserves

Jack DYER – England (23) – SPWAR #42 / WAGR #225

Jake BOLTON – England (22) – SPWAR #73 / WAGR #60

Here is my analysis of the 2021 selection: –

There are 7 English, 2 Irish, 1 Scottish and 0 Welsh players in the 2021 GB&I team.

Joe LONG (ENG) earned his place on the team by winning the 125th Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale G.C. in August 2020.

Sandy SCOTT (SCO) and Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) secured their places as the two highest ranked GB&I players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) at the time of selection. They are also the only two players to return from the 2019 match at Royal Liverpool G.C.

The remaining seven players and two reserves were selected by the four-man Selection Committee which comprised Pádraig HOGAN (Chairman / Ireland), Stuart WILSON (Captain / Scotland), Nigel EDWARDS (England) and Carl ROWE (Wales).

The Covid-19 pandemic has complicated the selection process with home-based players largely unable to make their cases with few competitive opportunities in the last 6 months.

It is therefore no surprise to see six of the ten-man team made up of US college players, namely, Barclay Brown (Stanford), Alex Fitzpatrick (Wake Forest), Angus Flanagan (Minnesota), John Murphy (Louisville), Mark Power (Wake Forest) and Sandy Scott (Texas Tech).

Callum FARR (ENG), Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL), Joe PAGDIN (ENG) and Caolan RAFFERTY (IRL), who were all in the original 15-man GB&I Walker Cup Squad announced on 2nd December, missed out.

Jack DYER (ENG) played his way into the picture from outside the Squad with a series of very good results in South Africa early in 2021.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2021, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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130. My 2021 GB&I Walker Cup Team With 50 Days To Go

19th March 2021

With 50 days to go until the 2021 Walker Cup match starts at Seminole G.C. here are the 10 players I would currently select for the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) team.

In the spirit of fairness I have tried to find a balance between players who have been performing well overseas and those that have been unable to play due to the COVID-19 pandemic but were previously trending towards selection.

My selection is primarily an objective one based on playing results, preferably recent as I would prefer a ‘match fit’ team. I do not know the players well enough to take into account personalities and team dynamics which I accept would be a part of a wider selection decision.  

On 20th October 2020 I wrote an article entitled ‘My Current GB&I Team And Squad With 200 Days To Go’ which listed the leading 20 players at that time. I have assessed all 20 players again. 

This is not a prediction of what The R&A Selection Committee will do. Indeed if it were a few names would be different, particularly as the Chairman Pádraig Hogan has publically stated they will automatically be including the two highest ranked WAGR players at the end of March.

I have included extracts from each player’s SPWAR and WAGR playing records so you can view their form and results for yourself. Unfortunately due to some recent IT issues the SPWAR is still catching up on some events in March. I consider the SPWAR to be far more accurate so always favour it’s ranking over that of WAGR.

Here are my leading 10 players: – 

1. Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) ⇑18
SPWAR #24 / WAGR #24

I didn’t pick Alex for my 2019 team (which he made) and back in October I had him in 19th place in my 2021 team list. All I’ve ever wanted was results to back up his longstanding reputation as a great prospect. I have been pleased to see that he’s consistently delivered them over the last 6 months. With two wins, including this week’s Valspar Collegiate (not yet shown in the tables below), the in form Wake Forest man has separated himself from the pack.

Alex Fitzpatrick – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Alex Fitzpatrick – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

2. Mark POWER (IRL) ⇑1
SPWAR #44 / WAGR #28

Mark enjoyed a strong summer back home playing very well in the Amateur Championship and Brabazon Trophy. He has continued to play well for Wake Forest on the US College circuit in his sophomore year and finished T16 in the Valspar Collegiate this week (not shown below). He has plenty of match play experience representing Ireland and GB&I in boys and men’s tournaments.

Mark Power – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Mark Power – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

3. Jack DYER (ENG) ⇑11
SPWAR #31 / WAGR #238

Jack has backed up his good summer on the British amateur circuit by performing very well in South Africa in recent months. To feature prominently in five big events over there, including medalist and runner-up honours in the South African Amateur Championship, gives me a lot of confidence. I have a much higher regard for South African golf and golfers than the WAGR does. He offers what few other GB&I potential players can at the moment – U.S. experience from his college days (the first two years of which were in Fort Lauderdale, Florida), recent match play results and competitive form.

Jack Dyer – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Jack Dyer – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

4. Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) ⇑6
SPWAR #63 / WAGR #31

Ben secured his place in my team with his T11 result at the Jones Cup in February which showed he had lost none of his ability or competitive spirit during the COVID-19 lock down. He has been one of our better players since 2019 and deserves his chance on the biggest stage in May.

Ben Schmidt – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Ben Schmidt – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

5. Joe LONG (ENG) ⇓4
SPWAR #18 / WAGR #47

Joe returned to South Africa again during the winter. After a couple of disappointing European Tour pro events in late 2020 he only played in one of the South African amateur events where he was disqualified. As the reigning Amateur champion and on the back of an impressive couple of seasons he must be selected for the GB&I team but his lack of recent outings are a concern. We will see where his game is when he takes up his Masters invitation at Augusta in a few weeks time. 

Joe Long – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Joe Long – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

6. Matty LAMB (ENG) ⇓4
SPWAR #90 / WAGR #86

Matty proved to be one of our better players in 2020 when play recommenced after lockdown winning both the Tillman Trophy and North of England Amateur. It was encouraging to see him also perform well against a strong field at the Jones Cup in February. With a 2021 EuroPro Tour card already earned he deserves his Walker Cup amateur send off.

Matty Lamb – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Matty Lamb – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

7. John MURPHY (IRL) ⇑13
SPWAR #76 / WAGR #117

John has played his way on to my team on the back of his T6 at the Jones Cup and continued solid play for Louisville University. Not shown below he also finished 2nd at the V1 Sports General Hackler Invitational in South Carolina this week. If he can follow that up with another solid outing at the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational in Florida on 28-29 March the experienced Irishman must be worth a go.   

John Murphy – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

John Murphy – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

8. Jake BOLTON (ENG) ⇓2
SPWAR #58 / WAGR #59

Limited competitive action in 2021 has seen Jake slide a little but for me it would be unfair for him to miss out on the Walker Cup team due to the pandemic. Since winning the Scottish Open Amateur in 2019 Jake has played consistently well. He reached the semi-finals of the Amateur and South African Amateur Championships last year and also has two top 5’s finishes to his name in Florida in recent years which bode well for him.

Jake Bolton – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Jake Bolton – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

9. Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) ⇓5
SPWAR #95 / WAGR #41

Angus performed very well in the Western Amateur last summer – 72 hole medalist honours there shows his class – and has a number of recent wins in Minnesota where he continues to study. He now has lots of experience in big events but would help his case further with the men that matter if he could produce a top 10 for the Gophers in The Goodwin event in California next week. 

Angus Flanagan – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Angus Flanagan – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

10. Barclay BROWN (ENG) ⇓3
SPWAR #70 / WAGR #133

Barclay produced a string of fine results in the English Amateur, the Brabazon Trophy and The Amateur last summer. Whilst he hasn’t quite made his mark at Stanford yet, not always making their starting line up, he is playing regularly in the U.S. and hopefully his T5 at Bandon Dunes in early March will boost his confidence. He may still need a high finish in the Cardinal’s home event, The Goodwin, on 25-27 March to seal the deal.   

Barclay Brown – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Barclay Brown – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Looking at the rest of the players I originally selected in my 20 man squad: –

11. Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL) ⇑2
SPWAR #118 / WAGR #108

A well known name and reputation but are the recent results really there to justify his selection after a positive Winter 2020 touring Australia and South Africa ?  Whether relevant or not I was also disappointed to read in a Golf channel article in December that he had chosen not to complete his school exams and in the process had chosen to forego his 2021 scholarship to the University of Florida. Tom’s playing in the Azalea Invitational this week in South Carolina and hopefully can get that good 2021 finish under his belt.

Tom McKibbin – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Tom McKibbin – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

12. Sandy SCOTT (SCO) ⇓4
SPWAR #216 / WAGR #6

Sandy was GB&I’s star player in the 2019 match at Hoylake and has huge amounts of experience. However, accepting he has been playing an elite schedule for Texas Tech, his results haven’t been good enough to make my 2021 line up. Worse still he hasn’t played competitively since 18th October having injured his wrist during Round 1 of the Maridoe Collegiate invitational. He is due to make his comeback around now following minor surgery. Texas Tech are scheduled to play in the Old Waverley Collegiate in Mississipi on 26-28 March. It won’t be easy for him to make his university team, who have been doing well in his absence, but let’s hope he’s fit enough to give it a go. He may be our highest ranked player in the WAGR but sadly that says more about its accuracy than it does about his current standing. 

Sandy Scott – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Sandy Scott – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

13. Haider HUSSAIN (ENG) ⇓8
SPWAR #79 / WAGR #111

I thought Haider was very unlucky not to be included in the formal R&A Squad given his 2020 results which were arguably as good collectively as anyone else’s. Unfortunately he hasn’t appeared since the European Amateur last September so has fallen down the pecking order.  

Haider Hussain – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Haider Hussain – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

14. Ben JONES (ENG) ⇓5
SPWAR #52 / WAGR #42

In my opinion Ben should have been selected in 2019 but his case for inclusion this time is weaker. I had him 9th in October but his late withdrawal from the Jones Cup and his lack of action in recent months means I reluctantly can’t find a place for him.

Ben Jones – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Ben Jones – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

15. Olly HUGGINS (ENG) ⇓4
SPWAR #105 / WAGR #134

Olly enjoyed a good 2020 season and must have been close to inclusion in the official R&A squad. However, the pandemic has snookered him in 2021 and by not finding any competitive action has now missed the chance to play at Seminole.

Olly Huggins – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

Olly Huggins – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

16. Arron EDWARDS-HILL (ENG) ⇓4
SPWAR #116 / WAGR #222

Arron is another very good English player who has performed consistently well for a few years now. He has recently played in the Spanish International Amateur and in a few events on the Evolve Pro Tour but sadly another one who has been deprived of the chance to make a run at the team in 2021.

Arron Edwards-Hill – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Arron Edwards-Hill – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

17. Joe PAGDIN (ENG) ⇑1
SPWAR #169 / WAGR #91

I was really hoping our resident Floridian could make this 2021 GB&I team. Joe has an excellent match play record and massive potential but unfortunately hasn’t been able to make a big enough impression in his freshman year at the University of Florida. Sadly the Gators had to withdrawal from this week’s Tiger Invitational due to a positive COVID-19 test within their golf program thus depriving him of a timely playing opportunity.

Joe Pagdin – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Joe Pagdin – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

18. Callan BARROW (ENG) ⇓1
SPWAR #169 / WAGR #427

Callan had a good 2020 but has been unable to play any events in 2021 so like a few others has slipped out of the picture.

Callan Barrrow – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Callan Barrrow – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

19. Jack COPE (ENG) ⇓3
SPWAR #197 / WAGR #613

After a long spell on the sidelines Jack came back well in 2020 culminating in a commanding win at Woodhall Spa in the English Amateur and a top 10 in the subsequent Brabazon Trophy. No events since last September means he has sadly not had the opportunity before this year’s match to build on his comeback season.

Jack Cope – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Jack Cope – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

20. Callum FARR (ENG) ⇓3
SPWAR #185 / WAGR #129

English International Callum is a consistent performer and has a number of high finishes in match play events over the years but hasn’t done enough to make the GB&I 2021 team. Sadly failed to make an impression in the Jones Cup his only event in the last 6 months.

Callum Farr – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Callum Farr – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Caolan Rafferty wasn’t in my 20 man squad in October but his high WAGR means he is worthy of further comment in this article.

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRL) N/a
SPWAR #109 / WAGR #22

Caolan suffered a thumb injury in 2020 and his strict adherence to the COVID-19 travel guidance in Ireland saw him miss out on all of the major British events last summer. He played in the rescheduled Arnold Palmer Cup at Bay Hill in December having originally been selected for the International Team in March 2020. I like Caolan and he was my 2nd pick for the 2019 match at Hoylake but his lack of action must go against him this year. 

Caolan Rafferty – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Caolan Rafferty – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

It would be wrong of me not to mention in passing Dan BRADBURY (ENG) SPWAR #152 / WAGR #99 and Enrique DIMAYUGA (ENG) SPWAR #131 / WAGR 361 who have both been playing well on the US College circuit in 2020/21. Enrique’s Florida Athletic University is about 60 miles south of Seminole G.C.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Appendix 1 – World Amateur Rankings – Top 20 GB&I Players on 18th March 2021

Scratch Players World Amateur RankingSPWAR 

World Amateur Golf RankingWAGR

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

The Walker Cup match is being played on 8-9th May at Seminole GC in Florida.

The actual GB&I squad is being selected in the week commencing 29th March with an announcement expected in early April. In such a difficult year it will be interesting to see who the Selection Committee opt for.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2021, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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128. Will The 2021 Walker Cup Be Postponed Until October ?

17th February 2021

All of the signals suggest that the 2021 Walker Cup may shortly be postponed.

The COVID-19 pandemic is the primary reason why the match should not take place in early May. The United Kingdom and Ireland have been badly impacted. Golf is currently banned in all home countries except for Scotland with widespread travel restrictions and quarantining in place. Whilst a roadmap to an easing of these controls is due to be announced by the UK Government next week this is not expected to deliver a quick fix. A gradual easing of health and safety measures over the next 4-6 months seems to be the plan.

Reflecting the above The R&A today announced that the Men’s Home Internationals would not now be played between 14-16 April 2021 at Royal Dornoch in Scotland due to the pandemic. You will recall this competition had been brought forward in December from its original September date to assist the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) selectors in choosing a Walker Cup team.

Some leading GB&I amateurs have struggled to find regular practice – let alone playing – opportunities since last summer given the UK lockdowns and travel issues with regard to the normal winter haunts of Australia, South Africa and USA. It now seems unlikely that any competitive golf will take place in GB&I until June 2021. It will also be interesting to see how many of the current 27 GB&I entrants to the forthcoming Spanish International Amateur make the 1st tee on 3rd March.

The selection of a proper GB&I team in April is compromised in my opinion. Yes, The R&A could select one for a May match at Seminole but would it be fair to all of the players currently competing for a spot to do so.

Last week I wrote about Davis THOMPSON, Ricky CASTILLO and John PAK all being selected for the USA Walker Cup team as the three highest ranked USA players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) released on the 10th February 2021. The USGA announced this preliminary selection criteria on 21st December 2020 but have subsequently been unusually silent in formally confirming these names. I interpret this as evidence that a decision to proceed in May is still being considered carefully by both parties.

The Walker Cup needs family, friends and fans to make it what it is. With travel from Europe likely to be very difficult until later in the summer this will not be straight forward for away supporters in May. It should not be played behind closed doors and with no tickets having gone on sale yet this seems to be an option being considered. A match with just the players and captains on site – perhaps with some home fans too – hardly seems worth playing to me.

There is no material commercial television and sponsorship considerations to hamper a deferment; something which has driven the continuation of the U.S. Open, The Open Championship and PGA or European Tour events in 2020/21.

Golf at Seminole is seasonal with play commencing in late October and ending in mid-May. Therefore if the USGA wish to keep the match in Juno Beach, Florida it seems sensible to reschedule it for October as soon as the course re-opens. A move to another venue in August or September is an option if October is considered too late.

Amateur golf fans in USA may not understand a postponement given that college and professional golf is being played with some fans able to attend. However, the situation in GB&I is not the same. I understand that some players on both sides may not choose to wait for an Autumn date but on balance I believe we’ve now reached the point where we need to buy ourselves some more time. A date broadly in line with the now traditional September one is not a disaster if it means a normal match for both sides can be played.

ME.

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127. Thompson, Castillo and Pak Secure USA Team Places

10th February 2021

Davis THOMPSON #2, Ricky CASTILLO #4 and John PAK #7 were the three highest ranked USA players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) released on the 10th February 2021.

In line with the USGA’s announcement on 21st December 2020 they therefore received automatic exemptions onto the 2021 USA Walker Cup team.

World Amateur Golf Ranking – 10th February 2021 Release

Pierceson COODY #8, who has been swapping third place with Pak in recent months, dropped out of the USA top three with the finishing line in sight. As is sometimes the way with WAGR it appears he was penalised for playing in last week’s Jones Cup Invitational which Castillo and Pak both missed. Coody should not worry overly as he is very likely to be selected by the USGA when the remaining places are confirmed.

The USA team is now taking shape.

Tyler STRAFACI, the U.S. Amateur champion, secured his place at Bandon Dunes G.C. in August 2020.

Stewart HAGESTAD is as close to a certainty as there can be to make his third successive appearance in the match, once again picking up the mid-amateur berth. Hagestad reached the Quarter Finals of the U.S. Amateur in Oregon and finished a creditable tied 11th in last week’s Jones Cup Invitational. No one can question his status as the USA’s No. 1 mid-amateur.

In addition to Pierceson COODY I am confident that Cole HAMMER, Austin ECKROAT and Quade CUMMINS will also be selected based on their recent performances.

The remaining spot is a little harder to determine at this stage with William HOLCOMB, Mac MEISSNER, William MOUW, David PERKINS, Garrett REBAND seeming to have the strongest cases. All accept Holcomb were in the USGA’s original practice squad.

If Hagestad and Hammer do get the nod to join Pak then that will mean USA will have an unusually high three players returning from the last match.

Captain Nathanial Crosby suggested at the Jones Cup Invitational last weekend that a full team announcement may surprisingly be made by the end of February so it seems we won’t have long to wait for the final USA team.

ME.

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126. The 2021 R&A Men’s Home Internationals Are To Be Played In April

17th December 2020

The R&A have announced that the Men’s Home Internationals will now be played at Royal Dornoch G.C. in Scotland on 14-16 April 2021.

The decision has been made to assist Great Britain and Ireland’s (GB&I) preparations for the Walker Cup match against USA on 8-9 May 2021.

It now seems likely that the GB&I team will be selected immediately following the tournament and announced publically on Monday 19th April.

Royal Dornoch G.C. Championship Course (Photo: Royal Dornoch G.C.)

The R&A will be running the Men’s Home Internationals for the first time next year. They will be taking over from the four home golf unions that participate and have hosted it in turn since 1932.

The 2020 Home Internationals were scheduled to be played at Royal Dornoch G.C. on 9-11 September but were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 event was due to be played at Hankley Common G.C. in England on 8-10 September but it appears they will now have to wait until 2022 for their turn.

The Home Internationals are contested by 11-man teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales with the four countries playing each other over three successive days. Each match involves 5 foursomes and 10 singles, all played over 18 holes.

Ireland were champions four times between 2014-17 with England winning the title in 2018 and 2019.

It’s mid-September date in the amateur calendar has always been a surprise given it’s prestige and excellent basis for GB&I team selection. Mid-June to mid-August would be the ideal time for the Home Internationals to be staged as this would allow most of our U.S. college players to also participate.

It is worth noting that 7 of the recently announced 15 man 2021 GB&I Walker Cup Squad are studying in the United States. Their Spring seasons will be heading towards their NCAA Championship climax so these players won’t be able to participate in these ‘trials’.

An informal GB&I squad gathering will probably take place around the Jones Cup Invitational which is been played between 4-7 February 2021 and may involve a trip to Seminole GC.

The Raymond Trophy (Photo: Ayrshire Golf Blog)

ME.

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125. The R&A Announce Their 2021 GB&I Walker Cup Squad

2nd December 2020

The R&A today announced a 15-man Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup squad for the 2021 match.

The GB&I 2021 Squad (Graphic: The R&A)

Here is a list of all of the selected players with their current amateur rankings: –

Jake BOLTON (22) – England – SPWAR #19 / WAGR #54

Barclay BROWN (19) – England – SPWAR #54 / WAGR #135

Callum FARR (22) – England – SPWAR #99 / WAGR #112

Alex FITZPATRICK (21) – England – SPWAR #71 / WAGR #37

Angus FLANAGAN (21) – England – SPWAR #58 / WAGR #38

Benjamin JONES (21) – England – SPWAR #17 / WAGR #39

Matty LAMB (22) – England – SPWAR #43 / WAGR #83

Joe LONG (23) – England – SPWAR #7 / WAGR #50

John MURPHY (22) – Ireland – SPWAR #148 / WAGR #103

Tom MCKIBBIN (17) – Ireland – SPWAR #62 / WAGR #78

Joseph PAGDIN (19) – England – SPWAR #167 / WAGR #47

Mark POWER (20) – Ireland – SPWAR #33 / WAGR #32

Caolan RAFFERTY (27) – Ireland – SPWAR #49 / WAGR #26

Benjamin SCHMIDT (18) – England – SPWAR #40 / WAGR #34

Sandy SCOTT (22) – Scotland – SPWAR #97 / WAGR #8

As expected the squad is dominated by English players of whom there are ten. Ireland have contributed four, Scotland one and Wales none.

Alex Fitzpatrick, Caolan Rafferty and Sandy Scott were all members of the losing GB&I team at Royal Liverpool in 2019.

Whilst all of these players have justified their selection the Committee do appear to have given the benefit of any doubt to those with US playing experience, which makes sense for an away match, and higher WAGR rankings.

In my opinion English trio Haider Hussain SPWAR #46 (7th) / WAGR #143, Olly Huggins SPWAR #51 (9th) / WAGR #162 and Arron Edwards-Hill SPWAR #75 (14th) / WAGR #157 can consider themselves unfortunate to be overlooked for the squad.

Eight of the squad, if you include Tom McKibbin, are US-based and given the additional complications created by the COVID-19 pandemic it seems unlikely a practice / team building session will be held before the team gather in Florida. 
GB&I captain Stuart Wilson said “We have selected a talented group of players to work with in preparation for the match against the United States of America next year. We will be closely monitoring their form and results in a number of important events over the coming months while other players still have time to play their way into contention before we finalise the team which will travel to Florida. We will go to Seminole with belief in ourselves and will give it our best shot to win back the trophy.”

Given the small number of events scheduled to be played between now and when the final team will be announced in April, let alone the complications of travelling abroad to compete in many of them, it is going to take something exceptional for a player outside this initial group to break into the GB&I team.

The 48th Walker Cup match will be played at Seminole Golf Club in Florida on 8th and 9th May 2021.

ME.

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120. The PGA Tour University Program Is Introduced

5th June 2020

On 1st June 2020 the PGA Tour announced its new PGA Tour University program.

The program is designed to improve the pathway for leading U.S. College golfers on to one of the PGA Tour’s satellite tours, namely the Korn Ferry Tour, Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and PGA TOUR Series – China.

A PGA Tour University Ranking is to be introduced for NCAA Division I golfers from all countries who are completing their fourth year in college.

This Ranking will be based on the World Amateur Golf Ranking methodology and will only include NCAA Division I Men’s Golf events, official PGA Tour events and Major Championship performances in the preceding two years.

Performances in other leading amateur events, such as the Western Amateur, St. Andrews Links Trophy, European Amateur or South Beach International Amateur, will not be of assistance to a player in this Ranking.

Each player will also have to compete in a minimum of nine events, including the NCAA Division I Men’s Regional Championship, during their final Senior year.

The first PGA Tour University Ranking will be unveiled prior to the 2020-21 Division I season commencing with weekly updates provided every Thursday during the season.

Starting from 2021 the leading 5 players on the the final PGA Tour University Ranking List, produced after the conclusion of the NCAA Men’s Division I Golf Championship (normally early June), will be awarded full tour membership of the Korn Ferry Tour. Players finishing 6th to 15th will be entitled to play on one of the three other International Tours. From here players will eventually hope to finish in the top 25 on the Korn Ferry Tour’s annual points list to earn promotion to the PGA Tour.It will be interesting to see how the PGA Tour University program affects players’ attitudes towards the Walker Cup and the selection of teams in the coming years.

The PGA Tour have clearly given some thought to this. Within their FAQ’s they state that if a top 15 PGA Tour University ranked player wishes to remain amateur to be considered for that year’s Walker Cup (or World Amateur Team Championship) they must declare this in writing to the PGA Tour within three days following the release of the final list. They will then be able to participate in tournaments as a non-member prior to these major amateur competitions. I assume they will be allocated order of merit points in the normal way so they are not disadvantaged by doing so. Thereafter, players will have 10 days following the conclusion of these amateur events to join the Tours they are eligible for membership of.

The emergence of a new ranking, highlighting the players that the PGA Tour considers best suited to fast tracking in to their own tournaments, may also produce a different dynamic for the two team Walker Cup selection committees, particularly the USGA, with the USA likely to have more players in the top 15 (and 25) than GB&I.

The PGA Tour University program appears to be an important new development for the elite amateur game and is therefore worth keeping an eye on with regard to its future impact on the Walker Cup.

ME.

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119. The 2020 World Amateur Team Championships Are Cancelled

6th May 2020

The International Golf Federation today announced the cancellation of the 2020 Men’s and Women’s World Amateur Team Championships.

Both events had already been moved to Singapore in February due to the social unrest in Hong Kong but have now fallen victim to the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The men’s Eisenhower Trophy competition had been scheduled from October 21-24 and was due to feature up to 72 countries in a 72 hole stroke play competition.

As three-man team’s from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales would all have been competing the cancellation represents another blow to Great Britain & Ireland’s 2021 Walker Cup preparation and selection plans.

Whilst USA would also have been competing the loss is probably not as great to them as they will only miss out on blooding three of their leading players.

No one has yet suggested that the 48th Walker Cup will not be played as scheduled but with just a year to go there must now be some doubt as to whether the world will have returned to sufficient normality for the match to proceed as currently planned.

Seminole Golf Club (Photo © Carlos Amoedo)

In other news this week 2021 host venue Seminole Golf Club in Florida has agreed to stage the TaylorMade Driving Relief on 17th May. This two-man match featuring Rory McIlroy & Dustin Johnson playing Rickie Fowler & Matthew Wolff has been planned to benefit U.S. COVID-19 relief efforts.

The event will be aired live from 7-11 p.m. (BST) on Sky Sports in the UK and will give the watching public its first proper glimpse of the famed course. It’s a shame the event will steal some of the Walker Cup’s thunder in this regard but hopefully it will go some way to whetting the appetite for more next year.

ME.

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118. The 2020 St. Andrews Trophy Match Is Cancelled

22nd April 2020

The R&A and European Golf Association have announced the cancellation of the St Andrews Trophy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The biennial international match between 9-man teams from Great Britain and Ireland and Continent of Europe was scheduled to take place at Royal Porthcawl on 23-24 July 2020.

The Continent of Europe were defending the St. Andrews Trophy having won it 15.5-9.5 at Linna Golf in Finland in 2018.

The match will next be played at Penati in Slovakia on 21-22 July 2022.

Royal Porthcawl G.C. (Photo: golfadvisor.com)

The cancellation, which had become inevitable in recent weeks, adds to the difficulties GB&I were already seeking to overcome in preparing for the 2021 Walker Cup match.

The Walker Cup is being contested next year at Seminole, Florida on 8-9 May so the GB&I selectors were faced with the prospect of having to choose a team without the normal benefit of having seen all of their players compete throughout the European amateur season.

The COVID-19 pandemic has now added to the challenge as it appears they are unexpectedly also going to lose out on evidence from a great deal of the 2020 season.

The copycat St. Andrews Trophy event, played in alternate years to the Walker Cup, provides an excellent early opportunity for GB&I to build team spirit and develop foursomes partnerships against top class opposition so represents a particular loss.

The 2020 St. Andrews Trophy match was also set to be Stuart Wilson’s first outing as GB&I men’s team captain.

ME.

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117. Stuart Wilson Appointed GB&I Walker Cup Captain For 2021

19th December 2019

Scotland’s Stuart WILSON (42) was today announced as the new captain of the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) men’s golf team.

Wilson is the Managing Secretary of Forfar G.C., the club he represented with distinction as a player for many years. He becomes the second GB&I captain to come from Forfar G.C., following in the footsteps of Sandy Saddler who led the team in 1977.

Stuart is married with two children.

His first match in charge will be against Continent of Europe in the St. Andrews Trophy which is being staged at Royal Porthcawl G.C. on 23-24 July 2020.

He will then captain the GB&I team against United States of America at the 48th Walker Cup match on 8-9 May 2021 at Seminole G.C. in Florida.

In all likelihood Wilson will also take in the 2022 St. Andrews Trophy before having the honour of captaining the GB&I Walker Cup team in his home country when the match returns to St. Andrews in 2023.

Stuart Wilson (Photo: carnoustiecountry.com)

The highlight of Wilson’s playing career was his victory in the 2004 Amateur Championship at St Andrews where he beat Lee Corfield 4&3 in the 36 hole final. He overcame Francesco Molinari 3&1 in the quarter finals in the same year.

A few weeks later he went on to win the low amateur Silver Medal at the Open Championship at Royal Troon when he finished tied 63rd. In his only other appearance at The Open he missed the cut at Royal Lytham & St. Annes’s in 2001 having come through qualifying.

In 2003 Wilson won the Lytham Trophy by 4-shots and was subsequently selected  for that year’s Walker Cup side at Ganton. GB&I won 12.5-11.5 with Stuart contributing two points from his four games; one and half of them coming with fellow Scotsman David Inglis in an unbeaten foursomes partnership.

A graduate of Abertay University in Dundee Wilson also represented GB&I in the Palmer Cup in 2001 and 2002, USA winning both matches.

Wilson has plenty of team captaincy experience firstly with Scotland Boys, then at the Junior Ryder Cup and most recently with GB&I Boys. However, he has found victories hard to come by to date.

USA beat Europe in both the 2012 and 2014 Junior Ryder Cup matches, firstly 14.5-9.5 at Olympia Fields C.C. and then 8-16 at Blairgowrie G.C.

In the Jacques Léglise Trophy Continent of Europe have twice beaten GB&I at home, at Ballybunion G.C. in 2017 and Aldeburgh G.C. in 2019 with Wilson’s team winning away at Kytäjä Golf, Finland in 2018.

Commenting upon his appointment Wilson said “I am very proud to be selected as the GB&I men’s team captain and look forward to leading a talented group of golfers at the St Andrews Trophy and the Walker Cup.”

“I have fond memories of my time as a player representing GB&I in these prestigious matches and I am determined to make a valuable contribution to the team as its leader and in helping the players.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on The R&A Boys’ Selection Committee and know first-hand the level of talent which is emerging. It feels like a very natural progression to be taking on this role to continue to foster these gifted amateur golfers.”

Stuart Wilson succeeds fellow Scot Craig Watson. Unfortunately for Craig he was unable to find the winning formula during his term of office.

GB&I currently hold neither the St Andrews Trophy or Walker Cup and with Continent of Europe seemingly getting stronger by the year and an away Walker Cup coming up in USA captain Nathanial Crosby’s back yard Wilson certainly has a big job on his hands. I wish him the best of luck.

ME.

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116. Nathanial Crosby Re-appointed USA Walker Cup Captain For 2021

25th October 2019

Nathaniel Crosby, who turns 58 on 29th October, has been re-appointed as captain of the USA Walker Cup team for the 2021 match which will be played at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida.

Crosby was always expected to be given the now customary second term after leading his USA team to a 15.5-10.5 away victory at Royal Liverpool G.C. last month and given the fact he lives close to and is a member of the famed Seminole club.

Upon confirming the captaincy Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman, said “Nathaniel’s previous Walker Cup experience and guidance proved to be the right mix to lead the 2019 team to victory. Our players experienced life lessons from a true gentleman and competitor and we are excited to have him lead the team again at Seminole.”

Nathaniel Crosby (© USGA / Simon Dale)

“The 2019 Walker Cup experience was an unbelievable journey from start to finish, and I am honored to be allowed to once again guide an outstanding group of young men in 2021” said Crosby.

In an interview with the Silver Club Golfing Society Podcast on 16th September 2019, shortly after returning home from England, he spoke in more detail about the possibility of being re-appointed for 2021, saying, “It would be an incredible privilege to be picked again. I know that has been a tradition with the USGA over the last three decades. I worry about a (former) player or two who could be passed over. The funny thing about Seminole is that if you’re a Walker Cup captain you are one of ten people. I don’t even want to think about it and the possibilities at this point. It’s a definite commitment of time and effort and I don’t know how any experience could match what’s just happened for me. That being said I don’t want to take myself out of the running ! This privilege was a lifelong memory and a highlight of my life. It would be greedy to want another one.”

The 48th Walker Cup Match is scheduled for 8th – 9th May 2021 and will mark the first time that the biennial team competition will be held in the spring in the U.S.

ME.

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115. USA Win The 2019 Walker Cup 15.5-10.5

8th September 2019

RESULT: GB&I 10.5 – USA 15

A strong final day performance propelled USA to a comfortable 15.5 – 10.5 victory at Royal Liverpool G.C. in the 47th Walker Cup match.

The Americans won 10.5 out of the 14 points available on Day 2.

Throughout the first three sessions the match had been very competitive and finely balanced. It was therefore a disappointment that GB&I fell away badly coming down the home stretch and with it any chance of a grandstand finish for the large crowds was lost.

The USA Team Celebrate Their Win (Photo: GolfBible)

GB&I came into Day 2 with a promising two point advantage but after the USA had reduced that to 1-point at lunch by winning the second foursomes series 2.5 – 1.5 a rare away win seemed increasingly likely. It could have been even better for the USA with Scottish duo Euan Walker and Sandy Scott doing well to secure a half in their match.

With all 10 members of each team exposed in the final singles the additional strength in depth possessed by the USA was always likely to prove match defining.

As in Los Angeles two years ago USA won the Day 2 singles 8-2 to retain the trophy and bolster their already one sided Walker Cup record to P47 W37 L9 H1.

No USA team had won away since 2007 when the likes of Rickie Fowler, Billy Horschel, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson and Kyle Stanley prevailed at Royal County Down G.C. Before that USA’s previous away win was at Portmarnock in 1991 so every credit must be afforded to this class of 2019 for their achievement at Hoylake.

It was also the first time that a USA side had trailed after Day 1 and gone on to win, home or away, since 1963 at Turnberry.

After strong winds had buffeted the northwest coast of England in the build up to the match making practice more often a hindrance than a benefit the weekend turned out beautifully. Whilst GB&I lost any perceived advantage from the weather the sunny days and modest breeze added to the spectacle with around 11,000 supporters coming out to follow the match over the two days.

______________________________________________

Day 2 Foursomes – play started at 8.00am.

Conditions were again ideal. The sun was shining and the breeze modest at it’s peak.

GB&I captain Craig Watson sent out the same foursomes pairings in the same order as he had done on Day 1.

Captain Nathanial Crosby introduced Cole Hammer and Steven Fisk to the USA line up at the expense of John Pak and Isaiah Salinda, one of his two winning pairings on Day 1.

The pairing of Alex Fitzpatrick and Conor Purcell made a strong start to the opening game; birdies on the 2nd and 3rd holes giving them a 2Up advantage. Sadly having got themselves to 1Up with 5 to play they lost their way conceding three of the next four holes to effectively hand the match to the American’s.

I had great hopes for the Scottish pairing of Euan Walker and Sandy Scott so it was a disappointment to see them only collect a half point from their two foursomes games. Whilst their solid back nine and finish deserves credit, where they were 2 Down with four holes to play, they were nevertheless a little fortunate to be in a position to secure a half after their bogey ridden start.

Harry Hall and Conor Gough were drawn against Stewart Hagestad and Akshay Bhatia for the second time in foursomes. Having got the better of them yesterday the GB&I pair unfortunately gave the early initiative away and were never able to recover it despite scoring relatively well.

For the second day running the Tom Sloman and Thomas Plumb pairing played well. However, on Day 2 they were rewarded. They ran out easy 5&3 winners against Cole Hammer and Steven Fisk with an under par score.

Not Selected
Caolan Rafferty & James Sugrue (GB&I)
John Pak & Isaiah Salinda (USA)

Day 2 Foursomes Score: GB&I 1.5 – USA 2.5

By winning the session 2.5-1.5 USA had reduced GB&I’s lead to just one 1-point at lunch on the final day.

The USA had talked up their foursomes preparation before the match with long time USA team manager Robbie Zalzneck attributed the credit with focussing minds in this regard. Zalzneck, attending his ninth Walker Cup, was said to be fed up with seeing his team frequently handing GB&I a daily head start in the morning foursomes. Captain Crosby worked hard on pairings, which he retained throughout, and strategy and his team notably ended up 4.5-3.5 winners in the foursomes segment of the match.

______________________________________________

Day 2 Singles – play started at 1.15pm.

Day 2 saw a new set of games drawn save for Caolan Rafferty and Alex Smalley who played each other for a second time.

USA made their intentions clear from the start in most of the Day 2 singles matches, winning the first hole in six of the games.

Only Sandy Scott and Tom Sloman managed to secure winning points for GB&I as ultimately USA were allowed to run out convincing winners.

Isaiah Salinda beat Alex Fitzpatrick by 2 Holes in the opening match after he wore down his English opponent who had led on numerous occasions in the middle of their match.

John Pak, surprisingly left out of the morning foursomes given his play on Day 1, got the ball rolling for the USA. He beat Scotland’s Euan Walker 2&1 to secure a 100% winning match record – P3 W3. In his final amateur appearance Walker started poorly before fighting back well. However, Pak was equal to the challenge.

Sandy Scott highlighted his growing status by beating the previously unbeaten Brandon Wu 4&3. “I played very well today,” Scott said after his match, “I started well and made a few birdies and just had a rough patch in the middle but managed to hold on for the win.”

Having won his two foursomes Alex Smalley added a singles win to his Walker Cup resume on the final afternoon. Whilst Rafferty produced five birdies to keep the match competitive he was always going to struggle with eight bogeys also featuring on his scorecard.

Stewart Hagestad enjoyed a surprisingly easy 5&3 win against Harry Hall who struggled to apply any pressure to the tall Californian mid-amateur.

Andy Ogletree produced his best display of a largely disappointing competition to overcome the always combative Conor Gough who gave the U.S. Amateur champion plenty to think about. Two late birdies saw off Gough, 17 last Thursday, who clearly enjoyed playing in front of the large crowds.

John Augenstein hit the first tee shot of the match at 8.30am on Saturday and secured the trophy with his winning putt on the 15th green as he beat Thomas Plumb 4&3. “It really doesn’t matter who clinches it,” said Augenstein when interviewed afterwards, “The fact is that we’re a team and we won the Walker Cup for each other and for the United States and whoever else that we’re representing. It was really cool, and it was a special moment, but I did not know exactly that I had clinched it.”

Akshay Bhatia won his second point in three starts on Sunday against Amateur champion James Sugrue. With both players having been rested in the morning they were clearly ready to play come their 2.25pm tee time. Bhatia quickly moved in to a 4 Up lead after five holes and despite pockets of resistance from the Mallow man saw the game out with relative ease.

Cole Hammer, who looked anything but the best amateur in the world for most of the weekend, finally came good in his Sunday singles although Ireland’s Conor Purcell was far from his best in this 6&5 defeat.

Tom Sloman secured his second win of the day taking out Steven Fisk by 2 Holes. Whilst the trophy had long been won it is fair to say these two players were still giving it everything. The affable Sloman had become frustrated with the slow play of Fisk and his approach to concessions whilst Fisk was in no mood to leave Hoylake with three losses to his name. Fisk said afterwards “It’s hard to beat someone who holes everything and gets all the lucky bounces.” Having watched every shot of this game I certainly couldn’t argue with the former where the Somerset man holed putt after putt in a very impressive 8 birdie performance.

Walker Cup 2019 Score Reports (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)

Day 2 Singles Score: GB&I 2 – USA 8

Match Result: GB&I 10.5 – USA 15.5

______________________________________________

John Pak was the only player to emerge from the competition unbeaten, winning all three of his matches. 

This was clearly a team effort from the USA with nine of their ten players contributing a point.  Steven Fisk was the exception but he was unfortunate to be paired with an inspired Tom Sloman twice on Sunday.

Sandy Scott, with two wins and a half from his four matches, was the best point scorer for GB&I. Alex Fitzpatrick, Conor Gough and Tom Sloman can also be pleased with their contributions. Amateur champion James Sugrue, who played just the two singles was the only home player to leave Merseyside empty handed.

______________________________________________

“I let them just go play. They are very talented guys who believe in themselves. Their talent came to the surface. I could not be more excited for them and me – I’ve not won anything in about 38 years !” said a jubilant U.S. captain Nathaniel Crosby. “These guys are inseparable and they’ve got a great memory now. This Walker Cup experience is going to be a memory, and a winning memory at that.”

Crosby stated early in the week that all of his players would play at least three games in the four session match. At every opportunity he reminded us that he had been benched twice at Royal Liverpool in 1983 by his then captain, Jay Sigel, and it was clear he didn’t want to leave any of his players feeling disappointed as he did back then despite being on a winning team.

“Obviously the boys are disappointed. It didn’t go quite to plan but they can be proud of their achievements to get in the team first of all and of their performance this weekend,” GB&I captain Craig Watson said. “I’m proud of all of them.”

“It was a tough course the way it was set up.” Watson explained (presumably forgetting that he was partially responsible for it – and if he wasn’t he should have been). “If you were ahead, early pars were enough to stay ahead because birdies were going to be few and far between, and the American boys did that very well. It’s been a fantastic week. The lads will probably learn a lot from this disappointment today.”

Signed 2019 Walker Cup Flag (Photo: GolfBible)

It is of course easy to be critical after the event. A winning captain and team inevitably receive all the plaudits whilst losing ones are always open to attack.

At the end of the day GB&I lost because they were out played in the final singles series. The USA team collectively played the better shots and holed more putts than their opponents.

That’s not to say that there aren’t lessons to be learned for The R&A selectors from this loss. Did we pick the right team – players on form with good links records ?, were our foursomes partnerships right ?, was our preparation right – we had three on site training sessions and a week of pre-match practice ?, why was our scoring generally poor ? and could / should we have set the course up differently ? are all questions that spring to mind.

Craig Watson also needs to review his own performance. This was his third match in charge of GB&I and he is yet to win one. He had previously drawn the 2016 St. Andrews Trophy match, played at Prince’s G.C., 12.5-12.5 against Continent of Europe and then suffered a record 15.5-9.5 loss in Finland in the same event in 2018.

Watson is expected to retain the GB&I captain’s role for the Seminole match in May 2021. Just like Spider Miller had to after USA’s 2015 loss at Royal Lytham he needs to reflect on what went well and what didn’t this week. Spider learned a few lessons and we saw a very different U.S. captain two years later in Los Angeles.

The difference in personality with his opposite number was stark this weekend. Watson seemed a quiet man, happier in the shadows than out front, whilst Crosby struck the bystander as a more inspirational character; somebody you would want to spend time with and play for.

Watson will in all likelihood come up against Nathaniel Crosby again but this time at the American’s home Club – that will be a much tougher assignment. I’m not looking for high fives or poetry in his speeches from the GB&I captain but perhaps a little more overt enthusiasm and leadership would help.

______________________________________________

From the USA team Akshay Bhatia, Steven Fisk, Isaiah Salinda, Alex Smalley and Brandon Wu are all turning Pro in the coming days.

Euan Walker and Tom Sloman are expected to do likewise before playing in the 2019 European Tour Qualifying School in the coming weeks. Other GB&I players are keeping their options open why they determine their own playing exemptions for 2020.

ME.

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114. GB&I Lead 7-5 After Day 1 Of The 2019 Walker Cup

7th September 2019

DAY 1 SCORE: GB&I 7 – USA 5

The opening day of the 47th Walker Cup match proved to be a positive one for the GB&I team who left Royal Liverpool G.C. pleased with their start but conscious that they had left points on the table which they may live to regret tomorrow.

Day 1 Foursomes (GB&I players first) – play started at 8.30am.

The Day 1 matches were played in near perfect conditions. The sun shone for most of the day with a gentle north westerly breeze barely affecting ball flights.

Alex Fitzpatrick and Conor Purcell delivered for GB&I in Game 1. Some outstanding putting and chipping from Purcell in particular led to a notable victory over the two recent U.S. Amateur Championship finalists.

In Game 2 John Pak and Isaiah Salinda made few mistakes in their win against the strong Scottish pairing of Sandy Scott and Euan Walker who let this game get away from them around the turn.

Without playing particularly well Harry Hall and Conor Gough were able to come through for GB&I in their match against Stewart Hagestad and Akshay Bhatia who started and finished the game poorly.

Brandon Wu and Alex Smalley played very well to overcome English pair Tom Sloman and Thomas Plumb in Game 4. The English pairing did little wrong but just came up against an inspired USA foursomes performance.

Not Selected
Caolan Rafferty & James Sugrue (GB&I)
Cole Hammer & Steven Fisk (USA)

Day 1 Foursomes Score: GB&I 2 – USA 2

______________________________________________

Day 1 Singles – play started at 1.45pm.

Alex Fitzpatrick had a notable victory against WAGR ranked world No. 1 Cole Hammer in a game of mixed quality. Hammer, who was not included in the morning foursomes, has struggled a little this summer and is clearly not at the same level as he was in 2018 when he was all conquering.

Euan Walker led Steven Fisk from the 2nd hole of their game and saw the match out but not without some nervous moments on the back nine. Again the above scorecard suggests that both players struggled on the links despite the near perfect conditions.

U.S. Amateur champion Andy Ogletree and in form Sandy Scott played a higher quality match in game 3. The tough start to the back nine along the coastline nearly derailed the Scotsman but he battled hard down the stretch to secure his first point.

In a game of few birdies John Augenstein took some revenge for his morning foursomes loss against Conor Purcell who was unable to repeat his earlier heroics on and around the greens.

John Pak won the final two holes against James Sugrue, who had been struggling with a sore back, to steal a point that had looked like being GB&I’s for much of the afternoon. His superb approach and birdie putt on the last certainly got him and the American supporters excited. Pak’s win was certainly a late confidence builder for the U.S. party. A 7-5 overnight deficit certainly felt a lot better than the 8-4 one they appeared to be on course for.

Conor Gough secured his second win of the day with a consistent front nine and thankfully a solid par finish on the 18th after it looked like he was perhaps going to gift a half to Isaiah Salinda.

Caolan Rafferty will be pleased to pick up a win in his opening contribution. Alex Smalley didn’t appear to push him too hard and rarely looked comfortable on the greens this afternoon.

Walker Cup 2019 Score Reports (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)

It’s hard not to feel a little sorry for Tom Sloman who ended Day 1 with two losses but who arguably played better than anyone else on the GB&I team. Wu was unbeatable, completely in control of himself and his game, this afternoon. His scoring, even allowing was a conceded birdie on 12, was simply exceptional.

Not Selected
Harry Hall & Tom Plumb (GB&I)
Akshay Bhatia & Stewart Hagestad (USA)

Day 1 Singles Score: GB&I 5 – USA 3

Day 1 Final Score: GB&I 7 – USA 5

GB&I Captain Craig Watson said “It was a pretty good day. It could have been better, but we all knew the Americans were going to come back at us. I think the fact the Americans came in so close at the end could work in our advantage because we’ll be a bit more ready for the fight tomorrow. Everybody is well and looking forward to it.”

USA Captain Nathanial Crosby said: “I think we were a little slow in getting started this morning. But we fought hard to get back to all square going in to lunch. This afternoon I could not believe the amount of putts GB&I made in the first 45 minutes. I think John Pak winning his match maybe a turning point. We were pretty lucky to be 5-3 down when it looked like we could be 6-2 or even 7-1 down.”

ME.

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113. The R&A Announces The GB&I Team For Hoylake

19th August 2019

The R&A announced their 10 man team for the 47th Walker Cup match on Monday 19th August.

The following players were selected: –

Alex FITZPATRICK (20) – Hallamshire, England
Conor GOUGH (16) – Stoke Park, England
Harry HALL (21) – West Cornwall, England
Thomas PLUMB (20) – Yeovil, England
Conor PURCELL (21) – Portmarnock, Ireland
Caolan RAFFERTY (26) – Dundalk, Ireland
Sandy SCOTT (20) – Nairn, Scotland
Tom SLOMAN (22) – Taunton & Pickeridge, England
James SUGRUE (22) – Mallow, Ireland
Euan WALKER (24) – Kilmarnock (Barassie), Scotland

There are five English, 3 Irish and 2 Scottish players in the team.

Reserves
Benjamin SCHMIDT (16) – Rotherham, England
Benjamin JONES (19) – Northamptonshire County, England

GB&I captain Craig Watson said: “It has been a very difficult decision to select ten players for Great Britain and Ireland from a strong squad but we have been very impressed with the results of those we have picked and we believe they will give us the best chance of regaining the Walker Cup against a strong American team.

“The Walker Cup is a fantastic opportunity for these amateur golfers to demonstrate their talents on the big stage and it will be an experience that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. We are looking forward to the match at Hoylake and I’m sure the players will give it their very best to win.”

ME.Facebooktwitterpinterestmail

112. USA Announce Their Final 7 Team Members

18th August 2019

The U.S.G.A.’s International Team Selection Committee announced the remaining members of their 2019 Walker Cup team shortly after the conclusion of play at the U.S. Amateur Championship on Sunday 18th August 2019.The following players were added to the U.S.A roster for the match at Royal Liverpool G.C. on 7-8 September 2019: –

John AUGENSTEIN (21) – U.S. Amateur runner-up
Steven FISK (22)
Andy OGLETREE (21) – U.S. Amateur champion
John PAK (20)
Isaiah SALINDA (22)
Alex SMALLEY (22)
Brandon WU (22)

They join: –

Cole HAMMER (19)
Akshay BHATIA (17)
Stewart HAGESTAD (28)

who were all selected on Wednesday 24th July 2019 based on their World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR). They were the three highest ranked U.S.A. players on that date.

Chandler PHILLIPS (22) and Ricky CASTILLO (18) are the first and second alternates respectively.

2019 U.S.A. Walker Cup Team (photo: Fox Sports / USGA TV Graphic) 

ME.

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