The list of potential GB&I Walker Cup captains is hardly what you’d call exhaustive.

In an ever-changing golfing environment, where professionalism often is the be all and end all, the career amateur is just about as old-fangled as the hand-cranked mangle.

“Are you saying they had nobody else to ask?,” said Stuart Wilson with a wry chuckle. He does have a point, mind you.

Wilson, one of Scotland’s finest career amateurs, was recently unveiled as the new GB&I captain for this year’s St Andrews Trophy and the 2021 Walker Cup.

Given his shimmering record, his reputation in the amateur scene and the respect his affable yet highly competitive demeanour commands, Wilson’s appointment was hardly one of the great surprises.

In recent years, there have been discussions in golfing circles about the prospect of former Walker Cup players who subsequently turned professional becoming a GB&I skipper.


That, of course, would open up a whole raft of decorated candidates, like Paul McGinley, Padraig Harrington, Sandy Lyle, Andrew Coltart or Colin Montgomerie.

It’s an intriguing, some may say fanciful, thought, but Wilson remains an open-minded kind of fellow.

“Choosing captains is something that could get harder going forward,” he conceded of the long-standing tradition of giving the role to true amateur golfers.

“How many of the guys who played in the Walker Cup in recent years have actually stayed amateur? They are virtually all professional.

“Career amateurs like Nigel Edwards has been a captain, Craig Watson has had his stint. Gary Wolstenholme was the obvious English choice but he turned pro when he reached 50 a few years ago.

“It [a professional captain] could be something for discussion going forward.”

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For the time being, though, Wilson, The Open silver-medal winner in 2004, is relishing the chance to lead GB&I over the next couple of years.

The former Amateur champion played in the Walker Cup back in 2003 at Ganton and helped GB&I to an unprecedented third successive win in the biennial bout.

In 2021, he will be hoping to stop the US winning three in a row. “It would be good to stop the US momentum but the history books tell us that won’t be easy,” said Wilson of a record which shows that GB&I have won just twice on US soil in the event’s history.

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A Walker Cup win remains one of Wilson’s most cherished baubles. Even in these times when the turnover of players from amateur to pro churns on with the prolific efficiency of an industrial conveyor belt, the 42-year-old maintains the transatlantic tussle has lost none of its lustre.

“It still resonates,” he insisted. “You’ll not get many multiple Walker Cuppers these days as players don’t stay amateur very long now but they still appreciate how important the event is.

“You see former players who went on to have successful professional careers and played in Ryder Cups they still refer fondly to the Walker Cup days.”

The St Andrews Trophy against Europe, meanwhile, is first up this July. Wilson was on the GB&I side which thumped the Europeans in 2004 at Nairn and he pitched in with a singles win over an up-and-coming Martin Kaymer.

“I don’t think I’d beat him now,” said Wilson with a smile.