LA set for am­a­teur show­case

The 46th Walker Cup is upon us, as GB&I head to the US as hold­ers. So here’s ev­ery­thing you need to know.

Golf World (UK) - - THE SPIN -


Am­a­teur golf’s Ry­der Cup is a two-day match­play af­fair that pits the 10 best male am­a­teur golfers from Great Bri­tain & Ire­land against Amer­ica’s 10 finest. The first day’s play con­sists of four four­somes matches and eight sin­gles; the se­cond day fea­tures an­other four four­somes matches and 10 sin­gles.


The Walker Cup takes its name from for­mer USGA Pres­i­dent Ge­orge Her­bert Walker, who pro­posed the match as a way of rais­ing the sport’s pro­file in the af­ter­math of World War I. First of­fi­cially held in 1922, it’s been played ev­ery other year since 1947 with the venues al­ter­nat­ing be­tween GB&I and Amer­ica. This year’s tus­sle takes place over the North Course at the ex­clu­sive Los An­ge­les Coun­try Club. The highly-rated lay­out was re­cently re­designed by Gil Hanse and is gear­ing up to host the 2023 US Open.


Over­all, the event’s re­sults do not make pleas­ant read­ing for golf fans on this side of the At­lantic, with the US win­ning 35 of the 45 matches, Great Bri­tain & Ire­land tri­umph­ing nine times and the 1965 match end­ing in a draw. More pos­i­tively, GB&I have won seven of the last 14 con­tests, and, thanks to a re­sound­ing 16½-9½ win at Royal Lytham in 2015, are the cur­rent Walker Cup hold­ers.


Jack. Tiger. Rory McIl­roy. Phil Mick­el­son. Jor­dan Spi­eth. Justin Rose. Dustin John­son. Bobby Jones. Choose a big golf­ing name from GB&I or the US and the chances are they will have cut their teeth in this event. “The Walker Cup was a big part of my ca­reer,” ad­mits Jack Nick­laus, who played in the 1959 and 1961 Walker Cups. “It took me from one level to the next level.”


Stars of to­mor­row in­clude, for the US, big-hit­ting Braden Thorn­berry, who re­cently fin­ished tied 4th at the PGA Tour’s FedEx St Jude Clas­sic, for­mer World Am­a­teur No.1 Mav­er­ick McNealy and Scot­tie Sch­ef­fler, who fin­ished tied 27th at this year’s US Open. For GB&I big things are ex­pected of this year’s Am­a­teur Cham­pion Harry El­lis, cur­rent Euro­pean Am­a­teur Cham­pion and Sil­ver Medal win­ner Al­fie Plant and World Am­a­teur No.9 Con­nor Syme.


Due to their strength in depth and home ad­van­tage (the home side have won 10 of the last 12 Walker Cups), John Miller’s United States team go into the en­counter as heavy favourites. But GB&I Cap­tain Craig Wat­son be­lieves his team are ca­pa­ble of caus­ing a shock, as does Am­a­teur Cham­pion Harry El­lis. “It’s go­ing to be a bat­tle,” he says, “but we can def­i­nitely bring the Cup home.”

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