The U.S. Walker Cup squad is on site at Merion after one final practice session at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mill, Md. The team arrived at Merion on Sunday to prepare for the competition, which will be held Sept. 12-13.
While Marucci’s men got in plenty of practice and playing time, the three-day session wasn’t all about work and golf.
The group took the short drive to Camden Yards last Friday night to watch the Baltimore Orioles beat the Texas Rangers, 5-1.
The following day, players bonded by watching their college football teams face off on the gridiron. Seven members of the squad have ties with ranked schools that played on television last week, including five players who had a rooting interest in the Oklahoma State-Georgia game.
That’s why there was cause for concern when the game between the Bulldogs and Cowboys couldn’t be found on TV. After much deliberation, the players hooked up a laptop to one of the club’s TVs in order to watch the Internet feed.
Rickie Fowler, Morgan Hoffmann and Peter Uihlein, all of whom played for Oklahoma State last season, got to watch the Cowboys get the best of Adam Mitchell’s and Brian Harman’s beloved Bulldogs. Oklahoma State rolled to a 24-10 victory.
“There was a lot of cheering and ribbing going on, but in the end, we showed them,” Fowler said.
That evening, Bud Cauley, a sophomore at Alabama, got the best of Drew Weaver, a recent Virginia Tech grad, as the Crimson Tide defeated the Hokies 34-24.
It was all a part of the camaraderie Marucci likes to build within his team, something he certainly did two years ago when the U.S. defeated GB&I by a point in Ireland.
“The chemistry on this year’s team is awesome,” said Fowler, the only member who played on the 2007 squad. “I know it was a big thing and a big factor in us winning two years ago. This year it may be even a little closer as a whole, especially because the Oklahoma State and Georgia boys are so close.
“All of us are getting along great and having a good time on and off the golf course,” said Fowler, who will turn professional following the Walker Cup. “We’re just having a lot of fun together hanging out and messing around.”