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.
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