ABERDEEN, Scotland--It's one of the more vexing problems the captains for the United States and the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup teams face each time the matches are held. How do you schedule the five days in advance of the competition so that the players are ready to be at their best come Saturday morning?
Indeed, most teams arrive on site no later than the Monday before the matches, as was the case this year at Royal Aberdeen GC. That allows them five days of familiarizing themselves with the course, but also five days of anxiously awaiting the thing to finally start.
"We've had a long week," GB&I captain Nigel Edwards said Friday. "An enjoyable one but a long one."
Edwards said that his team requested the chance to sleep in Friday morning ("they basically demanded it") so he granted their wish. Earlier in the week, he took them to Kingsbarns and Carnoustie to try and make sure their games stayed sharp but that they didn't get worn out by Royal Aberdeen, a course that they had visited in April and June as well.
"All week we are trying to build the team spirit," Edwards said, "and make them aware that peaking on Monday and Tuesday isn't the right thing."
"You definitely have to conserve your energy," noted U.S. team member Harris English. "This afternoon we are just going to hang out in the team room and maybe watch a movie. Just relax, kind of take the weight off our shoulders and get ready for tomorrow."
The U.S. side played Kingbarns and the Old Course at St. Andrews the previous weekend before getting to Aberdeen, then played 36 holes on the Balgownie Links on Monday. Each subsequent day they have eased off slightly with their practice, still experiencing the varying conditions that will help them be prepared Saturday and Sunday but without running out of energy.
"We've seen the course six or seven times," said American Russell Henley. "Pretty much every time the weather has been different. The wind has been different and while we've been out there it's changed on us. So I feel like we have experienced pretty much about everything with the weather in Scotland. I think everybody is feeling pretty good."