By Ryan Ballengee
After Byeoung-Han An's 7 & 5 crushing defeat of Ben Martin to become the youngest US Amateur winner ever at age 17, the USGA had some relatively easy decisions on their hands for the final two spots for the Walker Cup team. They chose Cameron Tringale and Peter Uihlein to round out the team.
Ben Martin would have made the team had he won the title. Instead, he's now the second alternate. 50 year old medalist Tim Jackson is the first alternate.
Buddy Marucci's squad is basically a bunch of college boys, plus a fifty year old man on guard in case one of them pulls a hammy or something.
The amateur ranks have essentially turned into a third mini-tour. As mentioned by Tom Dunne in another post on the US Am, college kids are dominating the amateur world as a proving ground for turning pro either during college or immediately thereafter. Though Danny Lee and An were both high school aged winners of the amateur, the trend of young men winning this championship has carried on well before them. Think about Nick Flanagan, Ryan Moore - all the way back to Tiger Woods. The thing is, though, that the Amateur is so much more apparently dominated by youth. It's the money available in going pro that makes these competitions so youth-driven now. The caliber of the field shows that a lot of these guys will be on the Nationwide, European, and PGA Tours awfully soon.
Buddy Marucci and Tim Jackson will probably be the last bastion of amateur golfer that is happy to remain with an (a) next to his name on a leaderboard. Allen Doyle long gave up on that.