The Walker Cup is this weekend and here’s a look at five things I expect to see from Team USA.
1. Uihlein and Cantlay paired as teammates: In the foursomes section of the Cup, it would be great to see the two best amateurs paired with one another. GB&I members would have to be intimidated to face Uihlein and Cantlay, but it would also draw large crowds from the local fans. The two Walker Cup teams are essentially the “Dream Teams” of amateur golf, so hopefully Captain Holtgrieve will give the GB&I fans something to awe over while his two best players play together in an intimidating environment. Fans at events want to see the stars play, so let’s see Uihlein and Cantlay play together and hopefully bring home a couple of points for USA in the process.
2. Henley and English in alternate shot: These two were college teammates, but the Walker Cup brings a new angle to team golf. In college golf, the two former Georgia were on the same team but never worked together really. If you think about it, the only time these two guys worked “together” was in the match play of the NCAA Championship. Let’s see the former Dawgs paired together in alternate shot, and really see how they do as teammates. While in college, their scores counted towards the team score, but they never assisted one another. Now, this can be their chance. Let’s see how two players did playing four years of college golf together do as teammates with alternate shots as oppose to alternating tee times.
3. USA’s Patrick Cantlay vs. GB&I’s Tom Lewis: Fans at the U.S. Amateur at Erin Hills saw this match a few weeks ago, and they saw Patrick Cantlay defeat Tom Lewis 3 and 1. How great would be to see a rematch now on the GB&I home turf? Lewis made plenty of headlines with his performance at the British Open, and Cantlay made most of his early summer headlines at the U.S. Open. This would be the marquee match at the Walker Cup. GB&I fans would love to see its best player go head-to-head with the USA’s best player – so let’s give the fans what they want. After all, isn’t some of this about what the fans want?
4. For the clouds to open up: Let’s see rain, wind, cold, players really fight the elements and not just each other. The weather in Scotland is supposed to be gnarly, and as long as the golf isn’t sloppy the matches could really be fun to watch. GB&I may have the “home field” advantage, but the USA players are just as equipped to play poor weather as the locals are. People forget that these college players play in poor weather conditions sporadically throughout the year. Playing in poor weather is not something that will be foreign to the Americans. Let’s see how the best amateurs in the world battle the weather and elements in this primetime event.
5. For it to go to the wire: What makes the Walker Cup great is the Sunday singles that essentially determine who will win the coveted Walker Cup. However, this year I hope to see both teams tied heading in to Sunday. Let all the Sunday singles have so much meaning and importance, that fans won’t know which match to watch or stay glued to. Winning is great, but no one wants to see a blow out. Let’s see the pressure on the face of every player, during every match, over every putt. That’s what would make the Walker Cup great. Let’s see every match means something, and that it goes down to the wire Sunday afternoon to determine who will take home the Walker Cup.