The U.S. Golf Association announced Monday the 16 American players who will attend the Walker Cup practice session Dec. 14-18 at The Los Angeles Country Club, where the 46th Walker Cup will be contested Sept. 9-10, 2017.
Leading the list is the world’s top-ranked amateur Maverick McNealy, a senior at Stanford and the 2015 Haskins Award winner. McNealy is one of two players attending the session who have past Walker Cup experience – mid-amateur Scott Harvey is the other.
Harvey was runner-up at this year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur to champion Stewart Hagestad, who was the other mid-amateur player invited to the session. Two U.S. Junior winners, Wake Forest’s Will Zalatoris (2014) and Texas’ Scottie Scheffler (2013), will also attend.
The full list of invitees, in alphabetical order:
- Dawson Armstrong, 21, of Brentwood, Tenn.
- Sean Crocker, 20, of Westlake Village, Calif.
- Brad Dalke, 20, of Norman, Okla.
- Doug Ghim, 20, of Arlington Heights, Ill.
- Stewart Hagestad, 25, of Newport Beach, Calif.
- Gavin Hall, 22, of Pittsford, N.Y.
- Nick Hardy, 20, of Northbrook, Ill.
- Scott Harvey, 38, of Greensboro, N.C.
- Rico Hoey, 21, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
- Maverick McNealy, 21, of Portola Valley, Calif.
- Dylan Meyer, 21, of Evansville, Ind.
- Collin Morikawa, 19, of La Canada, Calif.
- John Oda, 20, of Honolulu
- Scottie Scheffler, 20, of Dallas
- Jimmy Stanger, 21, of Tampa, Fla.
- Will Zalatoris, 20, of Plano, Texas
John “Spider” Miller, a two-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and member of the 1999 U.S. Walker Cup squad, will captain the U.S. side for a second straight Walker Cup. The Americans lost in 2015 to Great Britain and Ireland, but the U.S. does lead the all-time series, 35-9-1.
Notable names not attending include top junior Noah Goodwin, who is ranked seventh in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (he’s the second highest ranked American, behind only McNealy), as well as Washington’s Corey Pereira (ranked 16th in the WAGR), Virginia’s Derek Bard (26th), Alabama’s Davis Riley (42nd) and LSU’s Sam Burns (49th).
One would have to assume McNealy is a lock as long as he remains amateur, which is a strong likelihood. Same goes for the two mid-amateurs, Hagestad and Harvey, and Dalke and Scheffler, who each represented the U.S. at this year’s World Amateur Team Championships. That leaves five more spots, which if the team was picked now would likely go to Meyer, Crocker, Hall, Zalatoris and Morikawa if you just went off the practice session list.
Hoey is from the Los Angeles area and is planning on remaining amateur in order to play. He and Ghim are two other strong candidates to make the team.
A junior golfer hasn’t played in a Walker Cup since 2011, when Jordan Spieth and Patrick Rodgers played as incoming college freshmen. But Goodwin, a 2018 recruit, has a great case should he keep up his level of play. Same goes for Burns, who is arguably the Haskins Award front-runner at this point in the college season.