FAR HILLS, N.J. (Aug. 6, 2007)-- Two collegiate champions, a USGA champion and three who have qualified for a U.S. Open are among the eight chosen as part of the 10-man squad to represent the United States of America team for the 2007 Walker Cup Match that will be played Sept. 8-9 at Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle, Ireland. For a look at the Great Britain and Ireland team, click here.
The remainder of the squad will be selected following the U.S. Amateur Championship, which is scheduled to conclude Aug. 26 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif. Chosen by the International Team Selection Committee of United States Golf Association, the squad will face an amateur team representing Great Britain and Ireland.
NCAA champions Jonathan Moore, 22, of Vancouver, Wash., and Jamie Lovemark, 19, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., and three-time Walker Cup pick Trip Kuehne, 35, of Irving, Texas, are among the early selections for the USA squad. Kuehne qualified for the 2007 U.S. Open while Moore played in the 2006 Open.
They are joined on the team by Billy Horschel, 20, of Grant, Fla.; Dustin Johnson, 23, of Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Chris Kirk, 22, of Woodstock, Ga.; USGA champion Colt Knost, 22, of Dallas, Texas; and Webb Simpson, 21, of Raleigh, N.C. All but Kuehne are collegians or recent graduates who are playing on their first Walker Cup team.
The Walker Cup Match consists of 16 singles and eight foursomes (alternate shot) matches. The USA reclaimed the Cup with a one-point victory at Chicago (Ill.) Golf Club in 2005. Great Britain and Ireland’s team had won the three previous Matches, in 1999, 2001 and 2003, twice by scores of 15-9 and by 12½ -11½ in 2003. The USA leads the series overall, 32-7-1.
George “Buddy” Marucci, 55, of Villanova, Pa., who played on the USA Walker Cup teams of 1995 and 1997 and was runner-up to Tiger Woods at the 1995 U.S. Amateur, will serve as team captain. Marucci, who continues to add his total of having competed in more than 40 USGA championships, is co-owner of luxury car dealerships in the Philadelphia area.
“It is a dream come true to be involved with the Walker Cup Match again,” said Marucci, who played for the USA team in 1995 and 1997. “I know firsthand how truly talented this group of golfers is. I will try to share my passion for this event with them and turn them loose. I know they will represent themselves and all of amateur golf well.”
On our "look ahead" article breaking down possible Walker Cup selections, posted June 14, we didn't do half bad, correctly putting seven of the eight members in our "likely" category.
We also tabbed Colt Knost as a "player to watch" then watched him win the USGA Amateur Public Links and secure his spot.
Now, with two spots left, we look at the snubs so far.
Probably the most glaring is Southern California prepster Rickie Fowler, who has done just about everything he could to punch his ticket. Fowler won two majors this summer, the Sunnehanna Amateur and The Players Championship, and currently sits in fifth place on the amateurgolf.com-Bridgestone Golf Player Rankings.
The sentimental pick here at amateurgolf.com, and around the country, has to be Drew Weaver, the Virginia Tech golfer who became the first American to win the British Amateur in 38 years weeks after the campus shooting that left 32 of his classmates dead.
Although Weaver didn't have the resume of those listed above, we thought his impressive victory overseas on a links-style course against some of Europe's best competition would earn him a nod.
If Weaver doesn't earn one of the final two spots, he can at least look forward to teeing off at the 2008 Masters.
Georgia senior Brian Harman also seemed like a good bet to us. After all, he did go 2-0-1 in last year's Walker Cup, and seemingly did nothing to hurt his chances this year.
It wouldn't surprise us at all if two of those three find themselves heading to Northern Ireland, but if someone comes out of nowhere to take the U.S. Amateur by storm that also may be enough to book a trip.