The U.S. Walker Cup team appears to be so rich with big-league amateur success that it would be the heavy favorite Aug. 11-12 to defeat Great Britain & Ireland in Sea Island, Ga.
But while résumés are the basis for assembling a team, they do not win matches. Surely, the Americans are all too aware of how things played out in 1999, when the U.S. team was whipped, 15-9, in Nairn, Scotland.
The match-play event at Rees Jones’ Ocean Forest Golf Club (7,140 yards, par 72) features four foursome (alternate-shot) matches each morning and eight singles matches each afternoon. To win the cup, the U.S. team must garner at least 121⁄2 of the 24 available points; GB&I would retain the trophy in a tie.
The U.S. squad is 10-deep in talent, with seven college standouts and three longtime amateurs in their 40s. Four members were on the U.S. Palmer Cup team that trounced GB&I in June: Bryce Molder, who in his senior year at Georgia Tech set an NCAA stroke average record of 69.43, Lucas Glover, Erik Compton and Nick Cassini.
The GB&I side is strong, too, but not as diverse in range of experience. But match play is a great equalizer, and GB&I players have won on both sides of the Atlantic. Two returning Walker Cup members are Luke Donald, who finished a brilliant career at Northwestern and successfully defended his Northeastern Amateur title this summer, and Gary Wolstenholme, 40. They went undefeated on the 1999 GB&I team.
The United States leads the series 31-5-1.
– From staff reports