The Walker Cup gets underway in Southampton, New York this weekend with the Great Britain and Ireland team looking to heap more misery on USA in the team format.
Having suffered defeats in the most recent Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup competitions, it is now up to the amateurs to try and salvage some pride for the USA on home soil.
With the pairings having already been announced for today’s first day, all eyes will be on certain players that will have a major say on which team is triumphant come Sunday evening.
From GB and Ireland’s point of view, the standout golfer is Matthew Fitzpatrick. He teams up with Neil Raymond for the opening foursomes and they will be going up against USA duo Jordan Niebrugge and Nathan Smith.
Out of the players on the GB and Ireland roster, and the USA steam for that matter, Fitzpatrick looks the class act. Having already snaffled both the Silver Medal at The Open and the U.S. Amateur Championship, the Sheffield-born youngster will be determined to add the Walker Cup to his collection and cap off a truly marvelous year.
His team captain Nigel Edwards is excited about what Fitzpatrick can potentially add to the squad, as reported by the Daily Telegraph:
Matt is a very composed and focused individual. In his own quiet manner, he’ll bring a lot to the team-room. I’m sure the confidence he’s taken from the summer will feed its way through the whole squad.”
I think it’s a tremendous plus to have the US Amateur champion on our team. Having Matt gives us that gold dust.
Now officially the No.1 amateur in the world, Fitzpatrick looks set to be the difference between what look like two otherwise even matched teams.
The course, the National Golf Links of America, will be right up his street.
Fitzpatrick has never been the longest hitter off the tee, but his sensational touch and unnerving control should see him emerge as a class above his counterparts.
He overcame similar conditions in his two most recent triumphs at the U.S Amateur Championship and The Open. Having won while under pressure on both of those big occasions, he should be confident of making a significant contribution to his team.
Even if he doesn’t quite feel on top the world quite yet, he told the Telegraph: "I’m still not sure that I feel like the world No 1! But when it comes to matchplay I am confident at the moment."
Modest words. But it's what you would expect from a player with a mature head on his shoulders.
But expect Fitzpatrick show exactly why he is one of the game's hottest prospects, and the world's best amateur golfer, with a stellar showing this weekend.