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

American ‘W’ hats create bit of a stir during Walker Cup pressers
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ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Perhaps it’s a sign that this 49th 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 Thursday afternoon, just after both 10-man sides completed their daily spins around the Old Course. U.S. captain Mike McCoy and his two studs, world No. 1 Gordon Sargent and U.S. Amateur champ Nick Dunlap, strolled into the media center, which sits about a gap wedge north of St. Andrews’ clubhouse, with both Dunlap and Sargent donning navy hats with ‘W’ emblazoned in white on the front.

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

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

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

The room, which only included about a dozen people, burst into laughter. But the inquiries didn’t stop.

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

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

Then an American reporter chimed in: “By the way, are you a Cubs fan?”

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

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

Later in the presser, the topic of the hats came up again.

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

“I don’t know,” McCoy said. “I don’t think so, but we may very well. I think they came about when President [George W.] Bush, he attends the matches over in the U.S., and so I think the hats started also as kind of a tribute to him as well as the Walker Cup.”

McCoy would be correct, as the hats first surfaced in 2013 at 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 every American team since, though usually in practice.

SOUTHAMPTON, NY – SEPTEMBER 07: Patrick Rodgers of the United States team holes a match winning birdie putt on the 17th green as his partner Justin Thomas moves in to congratulate him against Kevin Phelan and Gavin Moynihan of GB&I during the first day morning foursomes matches of the 2013 Walker Cup Match at The National Golf Links of America on September 7, 2013 in Southampton, New York. (Photo by David Cannon/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

Regardless, the GB&I press conference featured a hat question as well: “Have you read anything into the Americans having a big W on the front of their hats today in practice?”

GB&I captain Stuart Wilson replied, “No, no, I actually haven’t 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, OK.”

And that was that on the hats.

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