The USGA announced the first five members of the 2013 USA side this morning. Two Cal Bears, two Alabama Crimson Tides and one Stanford Cardinal were presented to the golfing world as the opening half of the US side that will attempt to reclaim the Walker Cup at the National Golf Links of America in September. The most interesting revelation? No mid-amateur yet!
Michael Kim of California-Berkeley, the division one college player of the year and teammate Max Homa, the NCAA division one individual champion, will join with Patrick Rodgers of Stanford, and Cory Whitsett and Justin Thomas of Alabama, in Southampton, New York the first weekend of September. It is standard practice to name the US Amateur champion, should he be a US citizen, to the team, so the remaining five members of the team are not expected to be announced until the national championship concludes on August 18th.
The USGA announced in January that a minimum of two mid-amateurs (over 25 years of age) would be named to the team. Since none of the first five fits that category, attention now shifts to the over-25 set at the Porter Cup. It is clear that, while the USGA values the leadership and wisdom that a mid-am brings to the war room, the association also wants the two hottest (and I don’t mean sexy, people!) mid-ams it can find. While Nathan Smith and Todd White, both entered in the Porter Cup, are the front-runners, they have not yet sewn a name onto a team bag.
The remaining three slots might just go to another Alabama player (Bobby Wyatt) and another Cal Bear (Michael Weaver.) Since the Porter Cup champion (contingent on being a US citizen) has made the USA side every Walker Cup year since 1995, it’s a safe bet that this year’s victor will have said much by carrying a big stick to victory.