Walker Cup is tough act to follow
A stunning Walker Cup marked the start of a series of team matchplay tournaments that will add spice to the golfing calendar following the culmination of the major season.
The Seve Trophy pits the pros of Great Britain and Ireland against Continental Europe this week. Then it is the turn of Europe's professional women to try to overcome the United States in the Solheim Cup.
Pitching an individual sport like golf into a team environment has magical consequences as numerous Ryder Cups have proven and as the Walker Cup dramatically illustrated again at Royal Aberdeen. GB&I's brilliant 14-12 success gave them victory in the competition for the first time in eight years.
Nigel Edwards led his young GB & Ireland Walker Cup team magnificently. Photo: Getty
How Alison Nicholas will want to emulate Nigel Edwards as she tries to inspire her European team to Solheim Cup success. It would be a victory that would be just as unexpected as the one celebrated by Edwards and co in Scotland.
If Nicholas is successful, it would also mean that the Ryder Cup, Walker Cup and Solheim Cup all reside on this side of the Atlantic.
Edwards led his young team magnificently against an American side that boasted supposedly the world's best amateur players. The chances of a home win were written off in almost every quarter bar the GB&I team room.
"Did I expect to be sat here winning? Yes, absolutely," Edwards said. "I had had a quiet look at the things people had said and written but I told the boys from the outset that they did not need worry about anyone else.
"All they needed to do was focus on themselves. They are very special and proved that this week. They did a great credit for themselves, their families and their countries."
Edwards led his team with a quiet confidence that gave him an inspiring authority. The Welshman's handling of the foursomes pairings was exemplary, with GB&I losing only one of the eight matches. It was perfect captaincy - and a similar level of leadership can be expected from Paul McGinley when he steers Britain in their defence of the Seve Trophy this week.
This event will not have the same intensity or resonance of the tournaments that sandwich it but it will give us another opportunity to measure McGinley as a potential Ryder Cup captain.
Paul McGinley is looking forward to leading his side in the Seve Trophy. Photo: Getty
The Irishman was brilliant two years ago and his intelligence and passion for team golf will come to the fore even though the Seve Trophy pales in significance compared with the Ryder Cup, Walker Cup and Solheim Cup.
Much will be made of the absence of big names like Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia from this week's match but the fact that players skip the Seve Trophy tells you all you need to know about its true significance.
Should the stay-aways have made more effort to play in the year of the death of the man after whom the trophy is named? Perhaps, but it could be argued this match is a rather artificial memorial to Seve Ballesteros.
Yes, he was at the heart of its inception and it is his name on the trophy but he meant much more to the European game than this contest. It does not capture the imagination of the fans in the way his golf did or other team events do and, in all honesty, never will.
There are many other ways the game can honour the late Ballesteros and those not present in Versailles this week should not be regarded as snubbing his memory.
Indeed, many of them honour it by the standard of their play around the golfing world. No one did more than Ballesteros to demonstrate that there should be no ceiling on European players' ambitions.
This is well worth remembering at a time when the continent provides the top three in the world rankings - Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and McIlroy. Of those, only Westwood is competing in the Seve Trophy.
And while on the subject of team golf, it would be remiss not mention the PGA Cup this week. Great Britain and Ireland's club professionals are bidding to beat their American counterparts on US soil for the first time when they play in California.