Crosby tunes up US to find away form in Walker Cup
Bing Crosby’s son is dreaming of a red, white and blue Walker Cup here this weekend, just like the ones he used to know. However, the United States captain recognises the match has changed since he was in his pomp and that it is now much more difficult for America to prevail on Great British and Irish soil.
Nate Crosby, the youngest of the late crooner’s seven children, won the US Amateur in 1981 and played in the 1983 match here at Royal Liverpool, which the US won 13-11. That was actually a commendable effort by the GB&I team during an era in which they lost nine out of 10 encounters, including five in succession at home.
However, Crosby Jnr returns to the Wirral links 36 years later, knowing those days of domination are long gone. America have lost five of their past six away matches in the amateur equivalent of the Ryder Cup, and that adds up to just one win in the past 24 years. With that in mind, the 6-4 on offer for Craig Watson’s team is tempting indeed, a theory with which captain Crosby would presumably agree.
“It has always been tough, to be fair, but it has turned out mighty hard to win over here, as well as in our own back yards,” Crosby said. “But I have a talented young team and the only advice I’ve given them is to expect the worst conditions. It could be drizzling rain and blowing 40mph, and our opponents are not going to try any less hard if that’s the case. They might enjoy it more.”
The forecast is dry for the two days, but the winds are set to gust up to 20mph when play begins in the foursomes and that will put a spring in the step of the Sheffield 20-year-old Alex Fitzpatrick, who partners Portmarnock’s Conor Purcell in the opener against John Augenstein and Andy Ogletree.
“We are used to playing links golf as that’s all we basically do in amateur competitions over here,” Fitzpatrick said. “And if it is blowing that could be a big advantage.”
Fitzpatrick will be watched by elder brother, Matt, the five-time European Tour winner. They will be the first siblings to have both competed for GB&I in the Walker Cup since the Second World War, and Alex is out to trump Matt. “His team lost in 2013, so it would be good to have one over him,” he said.