Walker Cup better as three-day competition?


SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – By the time the Walker Cup finally got underway, the U.S. team had already spent a week in New York. The 10 team members had visited the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero, attended the U.S. Open, met Roger Federer, played six rounds of golf, ate lunch and played a few holes with former president George W. Bush, and attended the flag-raising ceremony.

The actual competition? Oh, that was only two days, one weekend.

And it prompted the question: Why not turn the Walker Cup into a three-day event?

“The event is so big now,” said Alabama’s Cory Whitsett, “that it almost owes it to itself.”

Unlike the Ryder Cup and Curtis Cup, the Walker Cup has never been played over three days. The format has changed over the years, however, and it currently calls for two days of double sessions: foursomes then singles.

That’s a lot of high-stakes golf to cram into two days, and it leaves little time for the suspense to build, particularly before Sunday singles. With the U.S. leading 10-6 heading into the final session Sunday, the Americans had less than an hour to eat lunch and practice before heading right back onto the course. Some drama.

“It took a long time to get to the matches,” Cal’s Michael Kim said, “but once it was here, it seems like it just went by real quick.”

Too quick?

GB&I captain Nigel Edwards was asked Sunday night whether he would welcome a change to three days. After all, his players had already been in the States for more than a week, and a change in the schedule would realistically only cut a day of sightseeing.

“If it makes it more appealing to the public and gets more people playing golf worldwide, then why not?” he said. “We should embrace that. But I don’t know whether it would. It’s a toss of the coin, I guess.”