LOS ANGELES – U.S. Walker Cup captain John “Spider” Miller described his team as a bunch of thoroughbred horses waiting in the starting gate for 15 minutes, rearing and ready to go.
“We have been ready since the team’s been announced,” said Doug Ghim, one of the 10 Americans set to compete in the biennial Walker Cup, which begins Saturday at Los Angeles Country Club.
The U.S. team has been in Los Angeles for more than week now, many of them arriving last Thursday. Same goes for the Great Britain and Ireland side. Both teams have spent the past week sightseeing as a team and playing area golf courses. Since Tuesday, they all have exclusively practiced at LACC.
It’s a big lead-up to an event that is just two days long. For as special as the Walker Cup is, it seems like a lot of buildup for only four sessions.
That begs the question: Should the Walker Cup be expanded to a three-day competition, with more matches, more points available and even the addition of the four-ball format?
Miller and his players would like that.
“It’s no secret I’m an advocate of adding another day of competition to the Walker Cup,” Miller said Friday. “I know it’s been discussed in the past, it’s not a new idea or a novel idea, but if I could do one thing … I would begin the competition on Friday.”
Miller’s proposal would consist of foursomes and singles on Friday, foursomes and four-ball on Saturday, and on the final day 10 singles matches to conclude the competition. That would mean that instead of 26 points available, there would be 30, which would lead to both more playing time for competitors and more golf action for fans to watch.
“I want to be able to play more golf,” Ghim said. “We fight so hard for two years I feel like and then we get here and it’s two days. So, I mean, I’m definitely grateful for the opportunity, but if we had another day, I would be all for it, because I would get to see one more day of golf and some nerves that you never get to feel other than this week.”
Other team competitions, such as the Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup, are three-day competitions. The Presidents Cup recently expanded to four days and increased the number of points available. Some could argue that the addition of the four-ball format would give the U.S. more of an advantage, but if anything, the GB&I side has the advantage, especially when hosting, because they are much more familiar with playing foursomes.
“I don’t think it’s as much as necessarily trying to give the U.S. an advantage, I think it is just cooler,” Braden Thornberry said. “Like most of the Ryder Cups stuff they do kind of all the formats and this one’s just foursomes and singles, which I think, like Captain was saying, I think best-ball is a really cool thing that everyone enjoys.”
While it’s not likely the Walker Cup would change to three days any time soon, the Americans wish it would. For the whole U.S. team, this has been a week of a lifetime. Why not add an extra day of competition to add to that experience?
“I think it would be great for the Walker Cup, period,” Miller said. “I think it would in every aspect it would be a good thing.”