Walker hopefuls play the waiting game

Drew Weaver hits his second shot during the continuation of the second round of the U.S. Open on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park.

Drew Weaver hits his second shot during the continuation of the second round of the U.S. Open on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park.

Drew Weaver had difficulty sleeping and eating while he waited to learn his Walker Cup fate.

He was one of the favorites to be named to the 10-man team, but that wasn’t enough to calm his nerves. He went running, played Wii, tried to practice – anything to keep his mind off the team, which he’d come close to making two years ago.

“The 36 to 48 hours before I got the call were brutal,” Weaver said. “When you work for something for such a long time, it’s so difficult when it comes down to the last few hours.”

Such is the impact that selection to the Walker Cup team, considered by many the biggest honor in amateur golf, has on players.

Well, Weaver can sleep easy now. He was one of the first eight players named Aug. 9 to the U.S. Walker Cup team, which will face Great Britain & Ireland Sept. 12-13 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.

Weaver is one of the lucky – and deserving – ones.

The USGA must be commended for selecting a team that has played well throughout the 18-month selection window. Unlike 2007, there were no questionable selections that left observers scratching their heads.

Yes, there are some deserving players not yet on the team, but there are two spots still available.

Several of the country’s top amateurs will have to endure an agonizing three weeks as they jockey for those berths. The final selections will be announced after the U.S. Amateur, which will be held Aug. 24-30 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.

Those seven days will provide a last-ditch effort for players such as Mark Anderson, Wesley Bryan, Bronson Burgoon, Michael McCoy, Patrick Reed, Zack Sucher, Cameron Tringale, Peter Uihlein, Mike Van Sickle and Dan Woltman to set themselves apart from the other candidates.

In ’07, Rickie Fowler was in their position when he arrived at the Olympic Club. Fowler, who had won that year’s Sunnehanna Amateur and Players Amateur, missed the cut, conceding that the looming Walker Cup selections contributed to his poor play.

“It’s not very fun,” said Fowler, who still ended up making the ’07 squad. “(The Walker Cup) was in the back of my mind. I was trying to push a little too hard and being a little hard on myself.”

Winning the U.S. Amateur will be those players’ only way to guarantee a spot on the Walker Cup team. Of course, that’s no easy task. Just advancing to match play out of the 312-player field is commendable.

Especially when the Walker Cup is on your mind.

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