Stranded in St. Lucia

Irma has delayed my return to the states by a few days. Thankfully, there are far worse places to be stuck than St. Lucia.

Almost better than golf...

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With that said, I hope everyone is safe and survives Irma unscathed. I’ve found myself glued to the storm and fascinated with the strength of it as it just missed us earlier this week.

It's been a relatively quiet week in golf with the Walker Cup taking center stage at LACC. The praise for the George Thomas masterpiece has been abundant. The course played firm and fast and possesses a great deal of width.

The U.S. put together one of the most talented Walker Cup rosters in recent memory and destroyed GB&I, 19-7. The U.S. Team had Maverick McNealy, Doug Ghim and Collin Morikawa all go undefeated in their four matches. The drubbing brings the question of whether the GB&I team should be expanded into a European team for the sake of competitive balance. I think this would be a good change.

The game is getting younger as evidenced by the talent on display at LACC as well as the slew of young winners on the PGA Tour. Golf is beginning to resemble other sports where an athlete's prime years are in their late 20's as opposed to the mid 30s that the sport used to enjoy.

In the next 5 years, I would expect to see almost the entire 2017 U.S. Team on the PGA Tour. For perspective, of the 2011 U.S. Team, only Chris Williams and Nathan Smith (Mid-Am) don't have full-status on the PGA Tour for the 2017-2018 season. A few members of that team were Jordan Spieth, Russell Henley, Peter Uihlein and Patrick Cantlay. Together that team has recorded 26 professional wins since the competition.

Some more recent Walker Cuppers of note from both USA & GB&I are:

2013 teams:

Justin Thomas (PGA Champion & 5 time PGA Tour winner), Michael Kim (PGA Tour member), Matt Fitzpatrick (4 time European Tour winner), Jordan Smith (European Tour winner), Patrick Rodgers (PGA Tour member), Callum Shinkwin (European Tour member), Max Homa (Web.com Tour winner), Bobby Wyatt (Web.com Tour member)

2015 teams:

Bryson DeChambeau (PGA Tour Winner), Paul Dunne (European Tour member), Beau Hossler (PGA Tour member '17-'18 season), Denny McCarthy (Web.com Tour Member) Lee McCoy (5th on Mackenzie Tour Order of Merit) and Robbie Shelton (2nd on Mackenzie Tour Order of Merit).

The majority of the 2017 Walker Cup Team will head back to college but Maverick McNealy will turn professional. Expect McNealy to get a full seven Sponsor Exemption starts with many coming in the fall events as he will look to earn his PGA Tour card.

A 2013 Walker Cupper

England's Matthew Fitzpatrick won the Omega Masters over Scott Hend in a playoff. The 23-year-old is often overlooked when discussing the world's best young players but now has four European Tour titles. Of players under 25, only Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas have more wins than Fitzpatrick.

On this honeymoon...

I have done a great deal of reading, and two books of interest for golf fans are Tom Doak's Little Red Book of Golf Course Architecture and Golf Has Never Failed Me. I would recommend both to architecture fans as well as these other architecture books to readers of all skill levels.

What's next

The third leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs kicks off on Thursday in Chicago. I will be getting back from St. Lucia on Thursday night (hopefully) and will be on the grounds the rest of the weekend. Expect your full preview newsletter on Wednesday morning.

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Zac Blair joins Soly to talk about his season, The Buck Club and his love of golf course architecture. Listen on the NLU website, iTunes or Stitcher.

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