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Walker Cup Friday notes: Teams, captains recovering from virus
07 May 2021
by Pete Wlodkowski of AmateurGolf.com

see also: The Walker Cup, Seminole Golf Club

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As torrential rains and thunderstorms rolled through South Florida -- and caused this writer's flight to be diverted to Tampa -- players and captains on both sides dealt with more serious issues on Thursday and Friday.

A number of players (and both captains) experienced symptoms of food poisoning -- but with Covid-19 ruled out as the course, the USGA and R&A issued the following statement:

"Over the past 24 hours, a number of players from both the GB&I and USA Teams have been treated for gastrointestinal issues and are currently under observation by medical professionals at the teams' hotel.

All players from both teams have tested negative in their daily screenings and COVID-19 has been ruled out as the cause. The players have adhered to the strict health and safety guidelines established as a code of conduct for the match.

The health and safety of the players and all involved in the match is our utmost priority and we are closely monitoring the situation. At this time, there is no expectation of a disruption to the timing of the matches of the biennial competition.

"We will provide additional updates if necessary."

It's going to take more than a "24 hour bug" to dampen the spirits of either team, as they get ready to represent their countries in amateur golf's biggest contest.

Some notes from Friday's practice round:

George W.Bush walks three holes with Team USA
No matter which side of the lever you vote on, walking three holes with a former president is pretty cool. And "43" loves golf. His great-grandfather George Herbert Walker was president of the USGA in 1920, when the Walker Cup was founded. The Walker Cup is named for him. On Friday, he joked with the team, put up $100 for closest to the pin on the 262 yard 8th hole (it's a monster) and left the caddies with this note:

"If you need somebody to heckle the other team, just let me know."

Seminole - the other star of The Walker Cup
With constant winds, and dry conditions that make the course very links-like, Seminole took in several inches of rain on Thursday and shortened player's practice rounds to almost nothing. But Friday brought better conditions, and winds that are drying up the course.

Cole Hammer, in the media center, commented on the importance of the short game, and his fellow Texan Ben Hogan.

"He said No. 6 was one of his favorite holes," said Hammer. "I think it's cool that he was out here grinding."

Alternates will likely see action:
With symptoms bad enough to send a handful of Team USA players to the hospital to replenish their fluids, it's likely that at least one alternate will see action on Saturday. The moring foursomes pairings will be announced Saturday at 7:00am EDT. The alternates are:

USA
1st Alternate: McClure Meissner -- San Antonio, Texas profile>
2nd Alternate: Cooper Dossey -- Austin, Texas profile>

GB&I
1st Reserve: Jake Bolton -- England profile>
2nd Reserve: Joe Pagdin -- Orlando, Florida profile>

ABOUT THE The Walker Cup

The Walker Cup Match is a biennial 10-man amateur team competition between the USA and a team composed of players from Great Britain and Ireland and selected by The R&A. It is played over two days with 18 singles matches and eight foursomes (alternate-shot) matches.

The first United States Walker Cup Team, which in 1922 defeated the GB&I side, 8-4, at the National Golf Links of America, is considered among the best teams ever and included Francis Ouimet, Bob Jones, Charles “Chick” Evans and Jess Sweetser. Many of the game’s greatest players have taken part in Walker Cup competition, including U.S. Open champions Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth for the USA and Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose for Great Britain and Ireland.

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