World rankings meaningless in 47th Walker Cup

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World rankings meaningless in 47th Walker Cup

Amateur

World rankings meaningless in 47th Walker Cup

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HOYLAKE, England – Don’t mention the word “favorites” to the U.S. Walker Cup team. None of the 10 players is buying into the theory that they should win the 47th Walker Cup, even if they’re better on paper.

British bookmakers William Hill lists Nathanial Crosby’s U.S. team as 4/5 favorites to win at Royal Liverpool, with Great Britain & Ireland at 6/5 and 12-1 on a tie.

There’s good reason for those numbers. The U.S. team features five players in the top 10 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking, with World No. 1 Cole Hammer leading the way. GB&I has just one top-10 player in England’s Conor Gough, the world’s third-ranked player.

The spread between Hammer and the highest ranked U.S player is 40 places to U.S. Amateur champion Andy Ogletree. He and World No. 21 Alex Smalley are the only two players outside the top 20.

The spread is greater in the GB&I side. England’s Thomas Plumb is 157th. Gough and 13th ranked Euan Walker are the home team’s only two top-20 players.

The U.S. side isn’t paying any attention to World Rankings.

“At this point you kind of throw everything out the window and you’re just playing head-to-head matches,” said World No. 8 Brandon Wu. “Obviously, the American team has played a lot of great golf over the past two years, and we’re ranked highly. At the end of the day, there’s a ball and there’s a hole and you’ve got to get it in before your competitors.”

Hammer is obviously the center of attention because of his World No. 1 tag. It’s not something he’s worried about.

“I would think there probably is to an extent,” Hammer said when asked if there was a large target on his back. “I haven’t talked to the GB&I players about it. It’ll excite me to play well. I’m not scared by it. I don’t think it’s backing me up into a wall or anything. I think it’s a good target to have on my back. Hopefully I’ll use it to my advantage.”

Hammer hails from Houston, which explains why he’s dismissive about the so-called GB&I advantage of playing links golf.

“I’m from Texas. It blows down there hard, so I’ve seen this before. We’re not worried about the weather. Honestly, the harder it is, the better it is for us.”

TV coverage

There is no live TV coverage of the 2019 Walker Cup, but there will be highlight shows at Golf Channel at 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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