There’ll be no more mystery for the masked maven of L.A. golf history.
In a summer season in which the United States Golf Association decided to spotlight some of the Southern California otherwise exclusive gems, the otherwise reclusive Los Angeles Country Club North Course, bordered on one side by Sunset Boulevard, finally gets its Gloria Swanson close-up, whether its dress-code conscious members are buttoned up on the idea or not.
Often depicted as a secret-gated garden in a highly visible area of Beverly Hills, surrounded
by Century City and Holmby Hills and with a secluded turnoff to the entrance off the busy Wilshire Boulevard that barrels right through the middle of it, LACC North allows itself to be put into play for the pomp and circumstance of the 46th Walker Cup.
Amateur detective work shows the site, ranked No. 23 on Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Course, last let the public take a real peek at its grounds when it hosted a USGA championship in 1954 (the U.S. Junior Amateur) and 1930 (the U.S. Women’s Amateur).
It also hosted the first of the PGA Tour’s L.A. Open tournaments in 1926, and four more until 1940, but that, too, was before TV cameras were ever considered to be allowed on the grounds.
Now, as it gears up toward a full reveal with hosting the 2023 U.S. Open major event, Fox’s FS1 cable channel is allowed to air at least 12 hours of it live over Saturday and Sunday.
This Ryder Cup team type of nationalistic competition brings two 10-man teams that make up the top amateurs from the U.S. against a team from England, Ireland and Wales. It’s a once-every-two-years chance to demonstrate the future of the game as well as sportsmanship, alternating each time between the U.S. and Great Britain sites, though it has never been held in Southern California.
The recent U.S. Amateur Championship at Riviera Country Club and Bel Air Country Club helped get the Walker Cup into the conversation by showcasing all who eventually made the 10-man U.S. team, as well as some of the standout foreign players.
U.S. Amateur champion Doc Redman, a 19-year-old from Clemson who defeated 21-year-old Texas standout Doug Ghim in the 36-hole-plus-one-more final, were the easy picks to head the American contingency, tournament savvy for an event that doesn’t demand quite the weeklong physical stamina since it’s only a two-day competition.
Southern California locals who made U.S. captain Spider Miller’s team include Collin Morikawa, the 20-year-old at Cal out of La Canada High in La Canada Flintridge; Norman Xiong, the 18-year-old at Oregon out Canyon Lake in Riverside and Temescal Canyon High, and Stewart Hagestad, the 26-year-old USC grad out of Newport Beach who has an LACC membership.
“Making the team was one of my goals at the beginning of the year and to have this opportunity is a dream come true,” Morikawa, No. 5 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, said after the Walker Cup roster was revealed on the final day of the U.S. Amateur.
Stanford’s Maverick McNealy, the world’s top-ranked amateur in 2016 and No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings; Texas A&M’s Cameron Champ; and Texas’ Scottie Scheffler, who made the cut at the recent U.S. Open in Erin Hills; and NCAA champion Branden Thornberry out of Mississippi, world ranked No. 3, are also key U.S. players with experience.
The final roster picked by the USGA board was difficult enough to make that current NCAA Division I player of the year Sam Burns from LSU wasn’t included. He lost his first match-play event at the U.S. Amateur.
The Great Britain team includes two key players from Scotland — 22-year-old Connor Syme and 21-year-old lefty Robert MacIntyre — who respectively reached the quarterfinals and Round of 32 at the U.S. Amateur. England’s Jack Singh Brar, 20, also reached match play at the U.S. Amateur.
Great Britain won the last Walker Cup at Royal Lytham in 2015 by a 16 ½ to 9 ½ margin, the largest defeat for the U.S. since the first year of 1922.
“Home course, home crowd, and we’ll have a number of players from the West Coast who have had the opportunity to play LACC,” Miller said.
46TH WALKER CUP
Site: Los Angeles Country Club North Course (10101 Wilshire Blvd, www.thelacc.org)
Course length: 7,397 yards, par 70
Format: As organized by the USGA and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, there are two days of foursomes (two players vs. two players in alternate-shot format with each side playing one ball) and two days of singles play.
TV: All on FS1: Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon and 2 to 5 p.m.; Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon and 3 to 6 p.m.
Tickets: $75 on competition days. 16 and younger are admitted free with a paid adult. Active military are admitted free.
The trophy: It is named after George Herbert Walker, the USGA president in 1920. He is the grandfather of 41st president George Herbert Walker Bush and great-grandfather of 43rd president George Walker Bush.
History: The event culminated in the wake of World War I as a way to modify the rules of golf. U.S. leads the series, 35-9 with one draw, since the 1922 inaugural event (interrupted from 1940-46 by World War II).
More information: www.walkercup.com
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