Excited Walker eyes Cup debut after stunning year

Sun Sep 14, 2014 2:51pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Making the United States Ryder Cup for the first time had long been a goal for Jimmy Walker, though it was a fairly remote one as he toiled away almost anonymously as a journeyman on the highly competitive PGA Tour.

But that changed in the proverbial blink of an eye after the American made a stunning start to the 2013-14 season, winning three times in eight events to rocket up the U.S. Cup standings.

Though he has not triumphed since his victory at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February, Walker performed well in the majors and comfortably qualified for Tom Watson's team to take on holders Europe at Gleneagles in Scotland later this month.

"It's always been a goal of mine, to compete in the Ryder Cup," Walker, 35, told Reuters at the PGA Tour's season-ending Tour Championship. "You have long-terms goals and you have things you want to do.

"That was obviously one of them. It's like making the Olympic team. Those are goals that you have to put out there for yourself. I'm really excited to go over (to Scotland)."

In his wildest dreams, though, Walker would never have banked on claiming three victories early on in the season to effectively ink in his spot on the 12-man U.S. team.

"You win that first one, and then you win the Sony (Open)," smiled Walker. "And then you win the next one (the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am), and you're like, 'Wow, this is getting to be a very possible thing'.

"Three (wins) in eight (events), that's hard to do. But you still have to think positive, you have to think that the wins are right there. I still feel that way, even though it (winning) hasn't happened in a while."   Continued...

Aug 22, 2014; Paramus, NJ, USA; Jimmy Walker tees off on the fifth hole during the second round of The Barclays golf tournament at Ridgewood Country Club. Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports