Craig Watson has been appointed as Captain of the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team that will face the USA at Los Angeles Country Club in 2017, writes the R&A.
One of Scotland’s most successful amateur golfers, Watson succeeds Welshman Nigel Edwards, who led the GB&I team to a record 16 ½ - 9 ½ win in the 2015 match at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Watson will also captain the GB&I St Andrews Trophy team as they take on the Continent of Europe in the 2016 match at Prince’s Golf Club in Kent on 20 and 21 July.
Edwards, after captaining both the GB&I Walker Cup and St Andrews Trophy sides on three occasions, will join The R&A’s Men’s Selection Committee.
GB&I will be looking to defend the trophy at the 46th Walker Cup match in California in 2017 and achieve their first victory on American soil since 2001, when they secured a 15-9 win at Ocean Forest in Georgia.
The 49-year-old Watson won The Amateur Championship at Royal St George’s in 1997 with a 3&2 victory in the final over future Masters champion Trevor Immelman, from South Africa. He played in The Open that year at Royal Troon and the Masters Tournament in 1998.
The East Renfrewshire member represented GB&I in the 1997 Walker Cup match at Quaker Ridge in New York where he secured 1 ½ points from the three matches he played.
“Playing in the Walker Cup team is one of my proudest moments in golf,” said Watson. “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.
“I am looking forward to getting started and to making sure we put out the strongest team we can next year in Los Angeles. 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.”
Watson has enjoyed a long and successful amateur career. He represented GB&I in the St Andrews Trophy team which lost by 14-10 to the Continent of Europe at Villa D’Este in Italy in 1998.
He 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.
A two-time winner of the St Andrews Links Trophy in 1992 and 1998 and winner of eight Scottish Golf Order of Merit titles, Watson was also runner-up in the Scottish Amateur Championship at Downfield in 2001.
Andy Ingram, the Chairman of The R&A’s Men’s Selection Committee, said, “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. 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 Match will be played on 9 and 10 September at Los Angeles Country Club in California.