ANDREW Coltart, who once faced Phil Mickelson in the Walker Cup, says Scotland’s failure to provide a single player for next month’s defence of the trophy is partly self-inflicted.
In a hard-hitting reaction to the event being left Scot-free for the first time since 1949 and only the second time in 44 matches, Coltart described the application levels of some players as “inexcusable”.
Coltart, a two-times European Tour winner, who is involved with the Scottish Golf Union in a mentoring role these days, also questioned why players were turning professional when they aren’t deemed to be among the top 12 amateurs in Great Britain & Ireland at the moment.
“Glimpses of a quality golfer isn’t enough to merit selection,” said Coltart, who squared up to Mickelson in the 1991 match at Portmarnock.
“You have to win and consistently perform well in the big events. Our top boys didn’t cut the mustard and, if I was them, I’d now be asking myself why?
“Indeed, some are thinking of turning pro. I’d also be questioning the timing of this decision. If they are not ranked inside the top 12 amateurs in Britain, what are their chances to cut it in the professional world? Unless they are happy just being involved in the golf industry in a non-competitive shape or form.”
The former Ryder Cup player has attended a number of the top amateur events over the past few years, both as a scout for International Sports Management and in his SGU role.
“Since being appointed to work with the performance committee, I’ve seen the great free opportunities from the SGU given to these players,” he added.
“Some of the youngsters are taking things on board and that’s evident in the good recent performances, but, sadly, certainly amongst senior members, I don’t believe that much of the advice has been absorbed or heeded.
“Some don’t take stats. Some don’t take notes in their yardage books when they play practice or competitive rounds. I find this bizarre, inexcusable even! Simple things every successful professional player had done for years. Are they taking it seriously enough? What is it about some of these amateurs that they think they can get away without doing these basics? Are they that good? The answer seems simple I’m afraid.
“Sadly, a lot of great opportunities have been ignored and things taken for granted. Instead of looking for excuses, they should be looking in the mirror. Being a professional golfer takes a lot of hard work and dedication. There are many who don’t make it. So, it didn’t surprise me that Scotland didn’t have anyone picked on this team.”
Coltart’s reference to better performances by some younger Scottish players relates, most recently anyway, to Bearsden’s Ewen Ferguson winning the Boys’ Amateur Championship at Hoylake last weekend.
On the back of that effort, Ferguson has been named along with three of his compatriots – Bradley Neil (Blairgowrie), Conor Syme (Dumfries & County) and Robert MacIntyre (Glencruitten) – in the GB&I Boys’ team to face the Continent of Europe in the Jacques Leglise Trophy at Royal St David’s in Harlech, North Wales, on 30-31 August. Joining them in a nine-strong side on the Welsh links will be English quartet Ashton Turner, Marco Penge, Bradley Moore and Ben Amor as well as Ireland’s Robin Dawson.
Neil played in last year’s match at Portmarnock and the success in providing four players on this occasion has pepped up SGU chief executive Hamish Grey after the Walker Cup disappointment.
“We’ve got a good bunch of young players, which augurs well, and I think it will be a completely different situation with the Walker Cup in two years’ time,” inisted Grey.