by Jeff Skinner
The United States Walker Cup Team had been billed as one of the strongest teams in Cup history. It boasted a lineup of many of the top amateurs in the world with six of the top ten golfers in the world wearing the red white and blue. But as they say “that is why they play the game.”
The Great Britain and Ireland team pulled off a stunning upset of the favored U.S. Team 14-12 as they out lasted a Sunday afternoon comeback try from the U.S.
The GB&I held a substantial five point lead after the completion of the Sunday Foursomes where they took three matches and halved the other. The U.S. made a valiant effort by earning six and a half points in the Sunday Singles but fell short and handed over the Walker Cup for the first time since 2003. It is only the eight victory for the GB&I Team in the 81 year history of the cup.
The GB&I team certainly had a home field advantage as a links course and the windy links weather may have neutralized the U.S. advantage.
The U.S. Team was certainly disappointed but afterward Jordan Spieth spoke on what it means to be a member of this team.
“I mean, any time you can represent your country, for me, it’s the biggest honor I’ve ever had. Being on this team is the biggest honor I’ve ever had playing golf. So taking it forward, first of all, I got a lot closer to a lot of the guys on the team. It’s a lot of off the course stuff more than on the course I think as far as this tournament goes. You know, created a lot of friendships, along with their team, too.
But then also being able to play in front of your country in front a lot more people than say when you’re representing them in a junior tournament. The crowds, the emotions are higher. The format is different. Peter (Uihlein) and I both hope that we can play on a Ryder Cup some day or multiple. I think it’s a great step towards it.”
After all, isn’t that why these matches were started in the first place? It gives amateurs the opportunity to play their counterparts from across the pond in the true spirit of sportsmanship. It sounds like Spieth certainly found it.