Born: August 12, 1911; Died: October 3, 2012.
Phyllis Wylie, who has died aged 101, was the oldest surviving golfer to have competed in the Curtis Cup, the biennial contest fought between teams from the US and Great Britain and Ireland. She played at a time when competing in a tournament in the US entailed crossing the Atlantic by ship and a tour of Australia and New Zealand meant being away from home for six months.
Generally known as Phil, she played for Great Britain and Ireland against the United States in the fourth Curtis Cup match at Essex County Club, Massachussets, in 1938.
She made her debut for England in the home internationals of 1934 and played every year for the next five apart from the 1937 home internationals when Turnberry was the venue.
All the teams travelled up to the Ayrshire venue and had completed their practice rounds. Tragically, Bridget Newell, who had been beaten by Pam Barton in the 1936 British women's open amateur championship and was a member of the England team, died suddenly on the eve of the internationals, which were called off as a mark of respect. Ms Newell was a lawyer and the youngest magistrate in Britain.
Originally a member of Parkstone Golf Club, three miles west of Bournemouth, Mrs Wylie played in two English women's amateur championship finals. She won the first, in 1934, by beating Mary Johnson of Hornsea by 4 and 3 in the 36-hole final at Seacroft, but lost the second, in 1936 when, as title favourite, she lost by 2 and 1 to Wanda Morgan at Hayling Island. She was Hampshire county champion in 1933, 1935, 1937 and 1938, and she also played for Great Britain against France in the forerunner of the Vagliano Trophy in 1937, 1939, 1947 and 1949.
Phyllis Wade Wylie was born in Essex but in 1939 married a Scot, surgeon-captain JI Wylie, who was a naval officer. They settled in Troon where she lived for many years across the road from the short 17th on the Royal Troon championship links.
Looking back to the 1939 competition she remembered the legendary Glenna Collett Vare and Patty Berg playing for the Americans, while her own team-mates included such memorable names as Jessie Anderson (Valentine to be) and Helen Holm.
"The United States won the match but my abiding memory is how happy I was to be playing in a Curtis Cup match and what great fun we all had," she recalled.
"I think that's the biggest difference between now and when I played. We all enjoyed ourselves, win or lose, and we weren't afraid to show it. Nowadays, all the players look so serious about it. It doesn't seem a game to be enjoyed any more."
On a tour of Australia and New Zealand with a Great Britain team in 1935, she was part of the team that won the New Zealand women's foursomes.
She recalled: "We went to Australia on the Strathaird, a wonderful ship. We practised on deck and I always remember that, to our surprise, the old golf balls we hit did not disappear into the sea but used to bounce across the water.
"We sailed home via the Pitcairn Islands and back through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean and home. We were away six months in all but it was a truly wonderful trip. We visited so many places of interest and were treated like royalty."
The women's home internationals resumed at Gullane in 1947 but the England team did not include her that year. Scotland won the championship and she was recalled to international duty in 1948 at Royal Lytham & St Annes. England duly regained the title by beating Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
She should have played in the 1948 Curtis Cup match (the first since 1938 because of the war) at Royal Birkdale but had developed a bad hook and was made first reserve.
During the 2008 Curtis Cup match at the Old Course, St Andrews, she fulfilled an ambition when she entered the Royal and Ancent clubhouse to attend the Past Curtis Cup Players' Dinner and was able to hold the Curtis Cup.
She won the Ayrshire Ladies County Championship in 1954. A keen supporter of golf at all levels, she was honoured by the Ayrshire Ladies a number of years ago, being elected honorary president of the Ayrshire Ladies County Golf Association.
Ladies Golf Union chief executive Shona Malcolm said: "Observant all her days, she was convinced that the players of today don't have the same fun that she and the grand old ladies of her generation had. Maybe all modern lady golfers should reflect on that – and approach the game with the same spring in their step and joi de vivre as Phyl."
Mrs Wylie is survived by her only son, Ian.
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