Admit it, you probably don't keep up with the world of amateur golf on a consistent basis. With the exception of a passing glance at the television during the U.S. Amateur telecast, most of your time spent watching golf is devoted to the professional game.
There's nothing wrong with that, but with FedEx Cup on hiatus for the week, you really should consider turning your attention to the amateur game, as a 10-man team from the United States goes up against a 10-man team comprised of the best amateur players from Great Britain and Ireland in the 2011 Walker Cup.
The two-day event (starting on Saturday) is done Ryder Cup style, with foursome and singles matches making up the event's format. With three of the last four Walker Cup's decided by just one point, there's a good chance this one could come down to the wire.
Television: Thanks to ESPN's deal with the USGA, the event gets a prime spot on ... ESPN3.com. You can log on and watch starting at 9:15 a.m. ET until 1:15 p.m on Saturday. Sunday's coverage will go from 6:30 a.m. until 8:30 a.m., and then 10:15 a.m. until 1 p.m.
The network also plans to show an "encore" presentation on Sunday from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. on ESPN2. Bottom line: the event is getting very little airtime on television with college and pro football going on.
Why you should watch: Because some of the best up-and-coming players in golf will be going head-to-head in some intriguing matches. Saturday's opening matches were already announced, with the afternoon singles matches pitting Tom Lewis against Peter Uihlein, and Jack Senior against Jordan Spieth (Senior defeated the Texas freshman in the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals).
Nothing against the team from GB&I, but one of the biggest reasons to watch is getting the chance to see one of the deepest United States teams in the history of the event. With Patrick Cantlay, Harris English (won a Nationwide Tour event as an amateur this summer), Russell Henley (also won a Nationwide Tour event as an amateur in 2011), Uihlein and Spieth, to name a few, you'll get a chance to watch some the PGA Tour's future in action. There's nothing wrong with that.
Plus, there's a pride factor on the line. Like the Ryder Cup, these teams would love nothing more than to win for their country -- and do it in decisive fashion. The 2009 United States Walker Cup team won 16.5 - 9.5 on American soil. It's safe to say the GB&I team doesn't want to see the same clinic on its home turf.
Who's going to win: On paper, it would appear the U.S. squad has a distinct advantage in the talent department. But if we've seen one thing over the years from watching the Ryder Cup, especially when it's played in Europe, talent will only get you so far.
Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, site of the Walker Cup, is a links-style course that should give the experience edge to the GB&I team. And if the wind continues to blow at the course, that advantage could be magnified.
But even with the links edge, the United States team could be too deep. Most of the players on the team have extensive experience playing abroad, and even with a pro-GB&I crowd supporting the team, it might not be enough to keep the U.S. from taking the trophy back across the pond.