Craig Watson will lead Great Britain & Ireland’s Walker Cup defence in Los Angeles next year after the 49-year-old Scot was named as the successor to three-time captain Nigel Edwards.
Watson, who beat a future Masters champion in Trevor Immelman when he was crowned as Amateur champion at Royal St George’s in 1997, will also captain GB&I in the St Andrews Trophy against Continent of Europe at Prince’s in Kent this July.
“Playing in the Walker Cup team is one of my proudest moments in golf,” said Watson of his 1997 appearance at Quaker Ridge in New York, where he secured one-and-a-half points from three matches.
“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.”
That is reference to Edwards leading GB&I to a brace of victories during his captaincy - at Royal Aberdeen in 2011 against a team that included Jordan Spieth then at Royal Lytham last year by a record 16½-9½ margin.
“I am looking forward to getting started and to making sure we put out the strongest team we can next year in Los Angeles,” added Watson, a two-time winner of the St Andrews Links Trophy in 1992 and 1998.
He also racked up eight Scottish Golf Order of Merit title triumphs and was runner-up in the Scottish Amateur Championship at Downfield in 2001.
“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,” he continued.
Watson 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.
“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,” said Andy Ingram, chairman of the R&A’s selection committee, which now has Edwards on it.
“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. ”
The 2017 Walker Cup will be played on 9 and 10 September at Los Angeles Country Club, where John ‘Spider’ Miller will captain the US team for the second match running.