In a surprise announcement on Monday morning, the R&A released a statement saying Sam Horsfield, the University of Florida freshman, has withdrawn from the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team for personal reasons.
Horsfield, who was born in England but has lived in Florida since age 5, broke onto the national scene as a 14-year-old when he caught the eye of Ian Poulter, who anointed the young prodigy as one of the game’s next potential superstars. He had an impressive but not necessarily phenomenal junior career, and signed with Florida early.
GB&I Walker Cup captain Nigel Edwards spoke highly of Horsfield at the U.S. Amateur, where the young man lost in the round of 32 to Daniel Wetterich.
“He gets on well with everyone and is definitely being considered,” Edwards said just three days before picking Horsfield for the team.
On Monday, Edwards told the Irish Times, “It’s disappointing that Sam isn’t going to be there.”
Neither the R&A nor the USGA elaborated on the reasons for the withdrawal but Florida men’s coach J.C. Deacon told the Golf Channel, “Sam had to WD for some very personal reasons. He’s an amazing kid and is making the best of the situation.”
Edwards announced that 19-year-old Ewen Ferguson will replace Horsfield.
“Ewen is more than an adequate replacement (and) unlucky not to get in in the first instance,” Edwards said. “I’m sure Ewen will do a great job in stepping in and I’m sure he’ll love the Walker Cup.”