Craig to lead GB&I into 2017 Walker Cup
Craig Watson has described being named the new captain of the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team as a ‘privilege’.
The former Amateur champion, from East Renfrewshire, succeeds Nigel Edwards who served three successive terms as captain. Wins at Royal Aberdeen and Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2011 and 2015 were sandwiched between a defeat at the National Golf Links of America in 2013.
Watson will lead GB&I’s defence of the Walker Cup at Los Angeles Country Club in 2017 and will also spearhead the St Andrews Trophy team in their match with Continental Europe at Prince’s Golf Club in Kent this summer.
Watson played in the Walker Cup in 1997 - the same year that he defeated Trevor Immelman in the final of the Amateur Championship at Royal St George’s – where he contributed one-and-a-half points from three matches at Quaker Ridge
in New York.
“Playing in the Walker Cup team is one of my proudest moments in golf,” said the 46-year-old. “I still remember the nerve-wracking moment when I teed it up on the first tee in the afternoon singles on the first day but I settled down and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
“It is a privilege for me to take over the captaincy of the team and I have a hard act to follow as Nigel did a fantastic job.
“I am looking forward to getting started and to making sure we put out the strongest team we can next year in Los Angeles. It is a hugely exciting time for amateur golf and you only have to look at the performances of the amateurs in The Open at St Andrews last year to see how competitive the game is at the moment.”
Watson has enjoyed a long and successful amateur career. He represented GB&I in the St Andrews Trophy team, which lost 14-10 to the Continent of Europe in Italy in 1998.
He also played for Scotland in the Home Internationals in all but one year from 1991 to 2003 and captained the side from 2001 to 2003, before serving as non-playing captain in 2004. He played in the European Men’s Team Championship in 1997, 1999 and 2001, captaining the side to victory in 2001, and, in 2003, serving as non-playing captain.
A two-time winner of the St Andrews Links Trophy in 1992 and 1998 and winner of eight Scottish Golf Order of Merit titles, Watson was also runner-up in the Scottish Amateur Championship at Downfield in 2001.
“Craig is a well-known and highly respected figure in the amateur game and will bring a great deal of experience and knowledge to the role of captain,” remarked Andy Ingram, the chairman of the R&A’s Men’s Selection Committee. “As a former Walker Cup and St Andrews Trophy player himself, he knows just what it means to represent GB&I and I’m sure he will relish the opportunity to work with the players in both teams. ”
Former captain Edwards, meanwhile, has joined the R&A’s Men’s Selection Committee.
The 2017 Walker Cup will be the 46th match in the event’s history. GB&I will be looking for their tenth win. The USA has 35 victories to its name with one match, at Baltimore Country Club in 1965, ending in a tie.