At the end of this week's U.S. Amateur, a winner will be crowned and, along with the win will come a coveted invitation to the Masters, as well as entry into the golf history books alongside names such as Woods and Nicklaus.
But another prize is also on the line this week at The Country Club at Brookline comes at the conclusion of the tournament. The USGA will name the final five members of the U.S. Walker Cup team, scheduled to complete against Great Britain and Ireland in a little under a month.
If this week's winner is from the United States and not Patrick Rodgers (since he is already on the team), it would be hard to see the USGA leaving him off the team.
Additionally, of the five remaining spots (five spots have already been allocated to Cory Whitsett, Justin Thomas, Rodgers, Max Homa and Michael Kim) two must be mid-ams thanks to a new rule approved this year.
With that in mind, here is a look at some of the more prominent candidates.
Amateurs: competing for three spots, two if Amateur winner is American (all but Steven Fox are in the match-play):
- Steven Fox – Last year's U.S. Amateur winner failed to make the match-play portion in his defense. Was part of victorious U.S. team in the World Amateur Team Championship.
- Michael Weaver – Currently 8th in the World Amateur Rankings, he is the highest-ranked U.S. player not already on the squad. Was runner up to Fox at 2012 Amateur.
- Bobby Wyatt – A member of the 2013 NCAA champion Alabama team along with Whitsett and Thomas, currently 15th in the amateur rankings. Played on the 2013 Palmer Cup team.
- Jordan Niebrugge – Maybe the hottest player in amateur golf. Winner of the 2013 U.S. Public Links, Wisconsin Amateur and Western Amateur this summer. Hard to see him not making the Walker Cup team at this point.
- Brandon Hagy – A semi-finalist at last year's U.S. Amateur, yet another golfer off of the loaded Cal Bears golf team (along with Weaver, Homa, and Kim). Second team college All-American.
Mid-Amateurs: competing for two spots
- Nathan Smith – Generally the only mid-am on the team the last couple of Walker Cups. Has experience that could be useful with a young team (only Rodgers was on the last Walker Cup team). Four-time U.S. Mid-Am winner.
- Todd White – An invitee to the Walker Cup training camp last winter. Typically plays a full amateur schedule and finished strong at this year's Porter Cup, finishing tied 34th after an opening 74.
- Jason Anthony – Playing in his first USGA event. Made match-play portion of 2013 U.S. Amateur. Former professional, played on the Canadian tour. Has reclaimed amateur status.
- Andrew Price – Made the 2013 U.S. Amateur match-play. Played in the 2005 John Deere Classic, and two Nationwide events (also in 2005).