With the U.S. Amateur concluding on Sunday the USGA announced the final five members of the U.S. Walker Cup team.
The final five spots are split between two mid-amateurs (players aged 25 and older) and three non-age restricted amateurs. The move to require two mid-amateurs on the team was done to provide more leadership more experience to the team, according to the USGA.
With the two required mid-am spots, Nathan Smith, the reigning and four time U.S. Mid-Am champion was a virtual lock. The second mid-am spot went to Todd White, a 45-year-old history teacher from South Carolina. White is the former Southern Conference champion back in college and was fifth at the Northeast Amateur Invitational and sixth at the Jones Cup this year. He was one of 15 players invited to participate last December in the Walker Cup Camp.
The final three open spots were where most of the drama laid.
Coming into the U.S. Amateur the leading contenders for the final spots were Michael Weaver, Jordan Niebrugge, Bobby Wyatt, Brandon Hagy and Sean Dale.
The understanding was that if an American who was not yet on the team won the U.S. Amateur, they would be guaranteed a spot on the Walker Cup squad. The decision became that much harder when none of the leading contenders made it past the Round of 32, but with no Americans making it even to the semi-finals, their would be three open spots for players on the bubble.
Since none of the American on the bubble (so to speak) made a deep run, the USGA went with the favorites: naming Niebrugge, Weaver and Wyatt to the team, with Hagy and Dale being named first and second alternate respectively.
Michael Weaver was the highest ranked U.S. amateur not already on the team, a finalist at last year’s U.S. Open and a first team all-American.
Bobby Wyatt was also a first team all-American and earned 3.5 points for this year’s Palmer Cup team.
The player who (semi) came out of nowhere this summer was Jordan Niebrugge. An honorable mention all-American at Oklahoma State, he won the U.S. Public Links Championship, the Western Amateur and the Wisconsin State Amateur this summer.
With the additions of Weaver and Wyatt that means that both Cal and Alabama will have three players on the Walker Cup team.