Crosby tunes up US to find away form in Walker Cup

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Football - By James Cor­ri­gan GOLF COR­RE­SPON­DENT at Hoy­lake

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.

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