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Golf: just another walk-over cup match?

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

The biennial Walker Cup played between the best American and Great Britain and Ireland amateurs is on again. Sometimes jokingly referred to as “The Walk-over Cup” because of the Americans’ overwhelming record of 34-7-1

Randall Mell writes, ‘Unbeatable…on paper: Americans arrive in Scotland for Walker Cup.’ And the event which is being held this weekend at Royal Aberdeen has the potential to be another walk-over with the American team featuring world No 1 Patrick Cantlay, two U.S. Amateur champs (Peter Uihlein and Kelly Kraft), two winners of Nationwide Tour events this summer (Russell Henley and Harris English).

But wait there’s “unbeatable” more. Two-time U.S. Junior champion Jordan Spieth and three-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champ Nathan Smith. And “unbeatable” does sound right until Randall reminds us, ‘GB & I has won three of the last four on its own turf. And the ’07 American team that won in that span barely escaped with a victory at Royal County Down in Ireland despite being loaded up with eight players who now make their living on the PGA Tour. That American team included Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson, Chris Kirk, Jamie Lovemark, Kyle Stanley, Colt Knost and Billy Horschel but won by a single point.’

Time to think again perhaps? But I’ll not dwell on the possibility of the GB & I team losing out again by a single point because of a dumb move by the GB & I selectors. Their decision to exclude David Law is inexplicable, unless of course we remember that politics plays a large part in the decision process. Be it by governments or golf selection committees

Omitted from the team is Scotsman David Law who has won the Scottish Amateur twice in three years and has a better record in the Home Internationals than Irishman Alan Dunbar. Who it is believed was David’s main rival for selection. But wait there’s gobsmacking more. David is a member of Royal Aberdeen and knows the Balgownie course like the back of his hand.

The GB & I is led by young Tom Lewis who impressed the crowds and TV commentators at Royal St Georges.

Geoff Shackelford’s blog talks about Tom Lewis, ‘Lewis: “I was asked if I wanted to go to US college and was told not to worry about my schoolwork – They would do it for me.”

Somehow I don’t think Michelle Wie gets off so lightly at Stanford but it’s food for thought for good young amateurs who may be imitated by thoughts of being able to cope with schoolwork and the intensity of playing for a college golf team.

Geoff’s blog was inspired by The Independent’s James Corrigan who writes, ‘Yet despite his (Tom Lewis) dyslexia and his lack of interest there was the chance to further his education. The majority of those who will line up with and against him at the Walker Cup are on University scholarships and the talent-hunters focus on the scorecards rather than the exam marks.’

Here’s the links to Randall Mell, Geoff and James

Thought for the Day

“The Walker Cup is old-time golf, which is good and bad. The atmosphere, courtesy of many stuffy R&A and USGA types, is one where working-class people need not apply. But the golf is terrific, especially as you get to walk the fairways with the players.” - John Huggan at the Pond Scrum  

And by the way, the man from Forfar which also famous for its Forfar Bridies has something to say about a fellow Forfarian? (Not sure if that’s right).

‘Forfar baker Sandy Saddler has a fund of Walker Cup memories to call upon’

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