No doubt critics will look for answers in the aftermath of this Walker Cup. They will ask how a match that has been so close for so long can suddenly turn into a 16 1/2-9 1/2 rout?
There is only one answer – Great Britain & Ireland simply lost to a better side.
The Americans looked more comfortable on the golf course and more relaxed. They gelled better as a team and simply played better golf.
Normally in Walker Cup years there are controversies over team selection, but not this year. GB & I captain Colin Dalgleish couldn’t have picked a better team from the available amateurs who could have done any better here at Merion.
“I don’t think there are any issues with the selection,” Dalgleish said. “Our policy is to identify the ten best players we think will best play a particular venue under the particular pressure of a Walker Cup and that’s what we did.
“The guys here are recognised performers in Great Britain and Ireland and have won in different parts of the world.”
They may have won round the world, but they didn’t win at Merion because they were no match for a better American team.
Truth is, this GB & I Walker Cup team was ordinary. There was no future superstar like Rory McIlroy in 2007 or Oliver Fisher in 2005. That’s not to say GB& I players won’t go onto greatness, just that none stand out at this point in their careers.
If there is a question to be asked about this Walker Cup then it concerns American superiority in foursomes golf. The U.S. won both foursomes sessions 3-1. In fact, the Americans hold a 12-4 advantage over the last two matches.
One veteran GB & I Walker Cup player was stumped by American success at a format that should favour GB & I.
“How can we only win two points out of six in foursomes?” asked five time Walker Cupper Gary Wolstenholme. “That’s supposed to be one of our strengths.”
The U.S. excelled in the foursomes because American captain Buddy Marucci made it a U.S. strength.
“On the teams that I played on when we were successful in foursomes we won, and my success was in foursomes,” Marucci said. “Those eight points and the emotion of those early morning matches and getting ahead is really significant. We concentrated 70% of our effort in foursomes.”
Maybe future GB & I captains should take a leaf out of Marucci’s book. Maybe GB & I teams are too relaxed when it comes to foursomes.
Or maybe this GB & I team was simply beaten by a better side.