• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

'It's encouraging . . . but let's not blow it out of proportion'

IF Scotland's amateur golfers thought they could bask in the glory of a European success then they can think again.

Bradley Neil, of Blairgowrie, won the play-off which secured victory in the European Nations Cup for Scotland.Picture: Kenny Smith

It can be easy to rest on the laurels of fleeting glory but Andrew Coltart is on hand to administer the robust boot of reality to any backsides that may be tempted to snuggle into comfortable acceptance.

It may only be March but the early signs on the Scottish front, dare we say it, have been encouraging and bode well for the coming months as the amateur season gets into full swing.

Fresh from a series of impressive competitive performances during a winter training trip to South Africa, the quartet of Bradley Neil, Jack McDonald, Graeme Robertson and Scott Borrowman upped the ante by winning the European Nations Cup on the Costa del Sol last weekend.

It was Scotland's first victory in that particular event since 2008, the year the trio of Callum Macaulay, Wallace Booth and Gavin Dear claimed the ultimate team triumph by landing the Eisenhower Trophy.

The challenge now is to carry this momentum into the new campaign and ensure that the Scottish flag is hoisted high at some of the unpaid game's biggest championships.

The failure of their players to make any sort of impact in the amateur 'majors' last season ultimately led to there being no Scottish representation in the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team. That had not happened for 64 years and prompted the kind of pained howling and wailing usually reserved for the set of the Hound of the Baskervilles.

Coltart, part of the Scottish Golf Union's performance committee, is desperate to make sure it does not happen again and is eager to keep cracking the whip. "I don't want to throw a big damper on what was a very good win in Spain but boys have made great starts to the year before and have failed to kick on," said the former Ryder Cup player.

"It's encouraging, but let's not blow it out of proportion. We have a trophy in the cabinet but I'm certainly expecting much more. I want to see the bar being raised this season and these boys must now be looking at nailing a 72-hole strokeplay event of great distinction."

It has been a while since that has happened, of course. The first significant senior international event on UK soil is May's Lytham Trophy and you have to go back to 2007, when Lloyd Saltman conquered the rigorous Royal Lytham links, to find the last Scottish winner of that prestigious prize.

Saltman also remains the last home hopeful to win the Brabazon Trophy in 2005 while Keir McNicoll's victory in the 2008 St Andrews Links Trophy has not been repeated. Tartan triumphs in the Scottish Open Strokeplay Championship, meanwhile, have been as rare as a sow in full flight since Wallace Booth tasted victory six years ago.

"The minimum requirement has to be a Lytham Trophy or a St Andrews Links Trophy win," added Coltart, who will never tire of hammering home to players the importance of discipline, dedication and desire. "The world is a smaller place, there are more golfers than 20 years ago. It's harder to succeed now but we have to work harder, it's as simple as that.

"There is talent here but they have to be willing to learn. Kids have to appreciate what they have, they have to be professional in their approach and exploit what's there.

"There's some fantastic knowledge available and they have to drink that up. We've had a good start to the year but I don't want it to be another false dawn. Now it's up to the guys to prove that it won't be."

Contextual targeting label: 
Sport

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

220083