American ‘W’ hats create a bit of a stir during Walker Cup pressers

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Perhaps it is a sign that this 49thth The Walker Cup lacks any meaty controversy that the most contentious discussion, at least so far, has involved some hats.

The entertaining back-and-forth – perhaps only from an American perspective – took place on Thursday afternoon, just after both 10-man sides had completed their daily spins around the Old Course. American captain Mike McCoy and his two studs, world No. 1 Gordon Sargent and American amateur champion Nick Dunlap, strolled into the media center, located about a wedge north of St. Andrews’ clubhouse, with both Dunlap and Sargent wearing navy hats with the ‘W’ emblazoned in white on the front.

What’s the big deal? Well, a few members of the British press who had a field day with Open champion Brian Harman and his hunting connections last month at Royal Liverpool had their interests piqued.

The first question: “We have to ask right away, do you represent Washington or Wisconsin, or what are the W’s for on the hats?”

McCoy took a moment before answering, “The Walker Cup.”

The room, which included only about a dozen people, burst into laughter. But the inquiry did not stop.

“The next question is, why is one W bigger than the other W?” asked another reporter.

“This one fits my head a little better, so I went with this one,” replied Sargent, whose ‘W’ was a bit smaller than Dunlap’s. “He liked it. As long as they all have a W on them, we’ll be good.”

Then an American reporter chimed in: “Are you a Cubs fan by the way?”

McCoy, who is from Iowa, replied, “Yes.”

“So the ‘Fly the W’ seal is the same thing, anyway…” the reporter continued.

Later in the press, the subject came up again.

“Mike, sorry to belabor the point about the hats, but Tiger Woods has taught us that W means a win,” asked one of the British reporters. “I take it that’s not the case. Are those hats supposed to be the ones the boys will wear in the match?”

“I don’t know,” McCoy said. “I don’t think so, but we can do that. I think they arose when the president [George W.] Bush, he attends the games in the United States, and so I think the hats also started as a kind of tribute to him as well as the Walker Cup.”

McCoy would be correct, as the hats first appeared in 2013 at the National Golf Links, where President Bush, whose great-grandfather, George Walker, started the Walker Cup, spoke at the opening ceremony. The ‘W’ hats have been worn by all American teams since, though usually in practice.

Walker Cup 2013 - Day One

Walker Cup 2013 – Day One

Regardless, the GB&I press conference also included a hat question: “Have you read anything about the Americans wearing a big W on the front of their hats today in practice?”

GB&I captain Stuart Wilson replied: “No, no, I haven’t actually seen the hats. I could think of a lot of W’s, help me out there.”

The British reporter quickly said, “Win.”

Wilson: “Oh, right, okay.”

And that was it on the hats.

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