Death of Ryder Cup man Will, twice winner over Palmer

GEORGE Will, who played in three successive Ryder Cups in the 1960s, beating Arnold Palmer in his very first match in the biennial event, has died at the age of 73.

• George Will: Three Ryder Cups

Born in Ladybank, Will survived a serious illness as a youngster to carve out a successful amateur career, winning the Scottish Boys' Championship in 1955 then the British Youths' Championship two years later. He also won the Army Championship twice during National Service.

After turning professional in 1957, he was attached to Walton Heath when he won the Northern Open as an assistant at Cruden Bay the following year, his name being sandwiched on the roll of honour by Eric Brown (1957) and John Panton (1959).

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As a Tour professional, his biggest success came in the 1965 Esso Golden Round Robin at Moor Park, while he was pipped for the Singapore Open title in a play-off the following year.

His first Ryder Cup appearance came in 1963 at East Lake Country Club in Atlanta, where the Scot partnered Welshman Brian Huggett, his good friend, to a 3 and 2 victory over Palmer and Johnny Pott in the opening foursomes match on the first morning.

He repeated the feat two years later at Royal Birkdale, this time linking up with Dave Thomas to beat Palmer and Dave Marr. A halved match in partnership with Huggett against Billy Casper and Julius Boros in 1967 at the Champions Golf Club in Houston saw Will, who also represented Scotland three times in the World Cup, finish with an unbeaten record in the opening matches of each of his three Ryder Cups.

Later in life, he became the club professional at Sundridge Park in Bromley, Kent, where, as coach to Roger Chapman, he helped him make the 1981 Walker Cup.

Neil Coles, chairman of the PGA European Tour Board of Directors, said: "George Will was an outstanding golfer who arrived as a professional at a similar time to myself. I recall that in his first Ryder Cup match he struck his opening shot a country mile down the middle watched by, among others, Arnold Palmer.

"He relished a challenge and rose to the occasion with a stylish game. He will be missed by his many friends in the game."

He leaves a wife, Jeannie, and son, Kenneth.