By Sean Martin, Golfweek
The U.S. Golf Association has selected 16 players to attend a Walker Cup practice session, according to a memo obtained by Golfweek. The session will be Dec. 19-22 at Calusa Pines in Naples, Fla. The invitees can be considered the early favorites for selection to the team. Players not at the practice session are still considered for selection to the 10-man squad, which will face Great Britain & Ireland on Sept. 7-8 at National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y. GB&I won the 2011 Walker Cup at Royal Aberdeen.
Notable in his omission from the roster is Texas sophomore Jordan Spieth. He will be attending Q-School as an amateur, as will be Andrew Yun and Peter Williamson, both of whom were invited to the practice session. Spieth’s omission seems to imply that he is leaning toward turning pro after his sophomore year, regardless of what happens at Q-School.
Washington senior Chris Williams, the world’s No. 1 amateur, also is not on the list.
Cal, Alabama and Stanford will have multiple players at the session. The Bears will be represented by Brandon Hagy, Max Homa, Michael Kim and U.S. Amateur runner-up Michael Weaver. The Tide will have Justin Thomas, Cory Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt at the session. Yun and Patrick Rodgers will be there for Stanford.
The 16 invitees:
Zac Blair, BYU: Blair made match play at both the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Amateur Public Links, as well as the Sweet 16 at the Western Amateur.
Steven Fox, Chattanooga: The U.S. Amateur champion is representing the United States at this week’s World Amateur Team Championship. His holding of the Havemeyer Trophy makes him an early favorite for the team.
Brandon Hagy, Cal: The long-hitting Hagy was a semifinalist at the U.S. Amateur and recently won the State Fair Amateur, a top California amateur.
Max Homa, Cal: Homa, the current No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, was a quarterfinalist at the 2010 U.S. Amateur and advanced to the Round of 32 this year.
Michael Kim, Cal: Kim, an honorable-mention All-American last year, made match play at the U.S. Amateur and the Round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur Public Links.
Mike Miller, N/A: Miller, of Brewster, N.Y., recently led New York to victory at the USGA State Team Championship, earning medalist honors by eight shots.
Patrick Rodgers, Stanford: Rodgers represented the United States at last year’s Walker Cup. The first-team All-American was third at this year’s Porter Cup.
Nathan Smith, mid-am: Smith, who has represented the United States at the past two Walker Cups, recently won his record fourth U.S. Mid-Amateur title. It was his third in the past four years.
Justin Thomas, Alabama: Thomas, one of three players representing the United States at this week’s World Amateur Team Championship, was the consensus player of the year in college golf last season.
T.J. Vogel, Florida: Vogel, a second-team All-American last year, is the U.S. Amateur Public Links champion.
Michael Weaver, Cal: Weaver was runner-up to Fox at this year’s U.S. Amateur.
Todd White, mid-am: White made the semifinals of the U.S. Mid-Am and the second round of match play at the U.S. Amateur.
Cory Whitsett, Alabama: Whitsett, a former U.S. Junior champ, was a second-team All-American last season after winning the Western Refining Collegiate All-American and Patriot All-American.
Peter Williamson, Dartmouth: Williamson, who completed his college career last season, had a breakout summer that included victories at the Southern Am and North & South, and made the Western Amateur semifinals.
Bobby Wyatt, Alabama: Wyatt was one of the top players in this amateur summer. He was medalist at the U.S. Amateur, where he advanced to the Round of 16 before losing to teammate Justin Thomas. Wyatt also was runner-up at the Southern and Players amateurs, and had top-5s at the Dogwood Invitational and Northeast Amateur.
Andrew Yun, Stanford: Yun, the Pac-12 champ, was the first alternate for the 2011 Walker Cup team.