Sixteen of the best American amateurs have been invited to the Walker Cup practice session Dec. 14-18.
The location for the session is still to be determined, but the 2019 team should have a decidedly new look. Mid-amateur Stewart Hagestad is the only 2017 Walker Cupper who was invited for this session.
Though it’s generally an idea of what the USGA’s international selection committee is thinking, the players invited to the practice session are not the only ones who will be considered for the team, nor are they guaranteed to remain an amateur through the summer.
The invites for this year, in alphabetical order: John Augenstein, Akshay Bhatia, Will Gordon, Hagestad, Cole Hammer, Brandon Mancheno, Bryson Nimmer, reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champ Kevin O’Connell, Matt Parziale, Chandler Phillips, Davis Riley, Isaiah Salinda, Alex Smalley, Tyler Strafaci, Matthew Wolff and Brandon Wu.
Just as notable, perhaps, is who was not included, Nos. 1-3 on WAGR: Justin Suh, Collin Morikawa and Braden Thornberry, all of whom are seniors. It's an indication that they’ll likely turn pro before the matches in September at Royal Liverpool.
In 2019, the USGA will have a new way to determine the 10-man roster, with automatic invites for an American U.S. Amateur champion, an American who is No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, and the top 3 ranked Americans in the WAGR. The rest will be determined by the committee.
At No. 5, Wolff is the highest-ranked American at the practice session, followed by No. 8 Riley and No. 11 Hammer.