U.S. seeks redemption at Walker Cup

The Walker Cup returns to the United States next weekend on Long Island.

The 44th staging of this storied event will take place Sept. 7-8 at the site of the first ever Walker Cup, the National Golf Links of America.

First held in 1922 at the National, the United States was led by captain (coach) William C. Fownes Jr., as the Americans won the inaugural Match, 8-4. That team boasted some of the greatest names in golf, from Bobby Jones and Chick Evans to Francis Ouimet, who captured the 1913 U.S. Open at the age of 20.

Designed by legendary course architect C.B. Macdonald, with assistance from Seth Raynor, the National dates back to 1911 and has been ranked as one of America's and the world's top-15 greatest golf courses ever.

The Walker Cup Match is contested by male amateur players, one team from the United States of America and one team from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The teams consist of not more than 10 players and a captain. The Match is conducted every two years, alternately in the U.S. and Great Britain/Ireland.

On Saturday, Sept. 7 there will be four foursomes matches (18 holes each of alternate-shot) in the morning and eight singles matches (18 holes each) in the afternoon. Sunday, Sept. 8 there will be four foursomes matches (18 holes each) in the morning and 10 singles matches (18 holes each in the afternoon. Foursomes is a match where two players compete against two other players in an alternate-shot format, with each side playing just one ball. A victory in each match scores one point. In the event a match goes 18 holes without a decision, one-half point is awarded to each side.

Great Britain/Ireland defeated the United States, 14-12, at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in Scotland two years ago to end the Americans' run of three straight victories. The GB&I squad captured the opening match, as Tom Lewis and Michael Stewart knocked off Peter Uihlein and Harris English, 2 & 1, and never trailed, leading 3-1 after the morning foursomes and 7-5 after singles play. The second day was more of the same, as they built a 10 1/2 to 5 1/2 advantage with 10 singles matches remaining. Although the Americans closed the gap, Steven Brown halved Blayne Barber, giving GB&I the necessary points to regain the Walker Cup.

With the win, Great Britain and Ireland won the Match for the first time since 2003 and have now won four of the last five competitions on home soil. The United States still leads the all-time series, 34-8-1.

The United States captured the Walker Cup for the third consecutive time in 2009, as they crushed the visiting team from Great Britain and Ireland, 16 1/2-9 1/2 at Merion Golf Club in suburban Philadelphia.

The Americans had an 8-4 lead heading into the final day and continued to play strong golf. They took three points in the foursomes matches in the morning and lost only one match. In the afternoon singles, the U.S. displayed its great depth, although the first match went to Gavin Dear of Great Britain and Ireland. He defeated Brian Harman, 3 & 2, but the U.S. swept the next three matches. Current PGA Tour player Rickie Fowler capped a perfect week with a 2 & 1 win over Matt Haines, then Uihlein, who also posted a perfect 4-0 slate, defeated Stiggy Hodgson, 3 & 1, and Morgan Hoffman pulled off a 1-up victory over Wallace Booth. The U.S. earned 8 1/2 points on the final day to post its biggest winning margin since 1997.

Jonathan Moore's eagle on the 18th hole in 2007 capped a singles victory over Nigel Edwards and clinched a 12 1/2-11 1/2 USA win at the 41st Walker Cup Match at Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle, Ireland. Moore hit a 4-iron from 252 yards on the final hole and dropped the three-foot putt to dispatch Edwards, 1 up. The USA had taken a strong 10-6 lead after the Sunday morning foursomes matches to break a 6-6 deadlock after the first day. Great Britain and Ireland then captured 4 1/2 of the first six points in the Sunday afternoon singles to set the stage for Moore's dramatic victory.

The Walker Cup Match began in the wake of World War I and it came together following a series of meetings with the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, whose purpose was largely to look at modifying the Rules of the game. As part of the meeting, an international team competition was discussed, much like what was already taking place between the United States and Canada, in 1919 and 1920. Among those attending the meeting at the R&A was George Herbert Walker, USGA President in 1920. The idea of an amateur team competition appealed to Walker and he soon presented a plan and offered to donate a trophy. When the press dubbed the trophy the Walker Cup, the name stuck.

Prominent PGA Tour players who have competed in the Walker Cup include Billy Andrade, David Duval, Brad Faxon, Rickie Fowler, Lucas Glover, Jay Haas, Tim Herron, Scott Hoch, Tom Kite, Matt Kuchar, Justin Leonard, Davis Love III, Billy Mayfair, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Corey Pavin, Craig Stadler, Curtis Strange, Hal Sutton, Lanny Wadkins and Tiger Woods.

The 2015 Walker Cup Match will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, Scotland. The North Course at Los Angeles Country Club in California will host the 2017 match.