One of the world’s most prestigious amateur team events, the Walker Cup, begins this week at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England. Ten United States players will face off against ten players from Great Britain and Ireland over two days of matches on September 7 and 8.
In 2017, Team USA produced a dominating 19-7 victory over Great Britain and Ireland at Los Angeles Country Club in California. It was the second-largest margin of victory in the history of the biennial competition. This year, the Americans need 13 points in order to retain the Cup. The Americans have a 36-9-1 record overall.
Ralph Lauren is dressing Team USA once again (continuing an official outfitter relationship established with the USGA in 2011), and if the uniform preview sketches above are any indication, the Americans will be both well-equipped and super stylish.
Many of the game’s most recognizable names once played on a Walker Cup team, including Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, and Justin Thomas.
And speaking of Thomas, the 10-time Tour winner has a special connection to this year’s uniform selections. As a longtime Ralph Lauren apparel ambassador, Thomas created his own red, white and blue capsule collection with the brand ahead of this year’s U.S. Open. Two pieces in particular — the blue camouflage-print quarter zip and matching pants, complete with red, white and blue stars — are featured in Team USA’s scripting at Royal Liverpool.
“When we looked at it, it just leant itself well to a U.S. Walker Cup team wearing it,” said USGA senior director of licensing and U.S. Open merchandise Mary Lopusynski. “There were two pieces we picked out, the quarter-zip and the pants. The plan right now is for the pants to be worn on Sunday, so we’ll see.”
It’s a bit of a full-circle moment for Thomas, who played on the 2013 Walker Cup team that prevailed over GB&I in a 17-9 rout at National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y.
“I’m excited,” Thomas told me over the phone. “As soon as I heard they would be wearing those pieces at the Walker Cup, I thought, it totally makes sense, because [my collection has] a lot of American-themed stuff, plenty of options. I have a couple good buddies on the team, so I’m excited to go watch them play.
“Being on the Walker Cup team is the pinnacle of what I feel like an amateur golfer can accomplish,” Thomas continued. “It was something that I wanted to do at least once before I turned pro. Putting on the red, white and blue in a team event, wearing some great uniforms, and all of you are out there wearing that same thing together, it just reinforces the idea of being a team. It’s very, very special.”
The ultra-cool patriotic looks have already been well-received by the team.
“I was just down at Pinehurst where the team had gathered to do a practice session, so we did a lot of final fitting of the uniforms there,” Lopusynski said. “And one of the guys on the team put the quarter-zip on, looked at himself in the mirror, and he said, ‘That’s savage.’ [Laughs] They’re always so excited to get the team uniform as it comes together, but they really did like those Justin Thomas pieces.”
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