Historically, both the Royal & Ancient (R&A) and the United States Golf Association (U.S.G.A.) have selected their respective captains strictly from the world of amateur golf and almost exclusively from the pool of former Walker Cup players.
Great Britain & Ireland
Scotland’s Stuart WILSON (43, d.o.b. 18th July 1977) was announced as the new captain of the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) men’s golf team on 19th December 2019.
His first match in charge was supposed to be against Continent of Europe in the St Andrews Trophy but the July 2020 match at Royal Porthcawl was cancelled due to COVID-19.
His first Walker Cup match was at Seminole G.C. in Florida in May 2021. GB&I put up a good fight but ultimately lost 14-12 to USA. Speaking afterwards he expressed a keenness to continue in the role for St. Andrews 2023: “Back in 2004 I was fortunate enough to win the Amateur on the Old Course. Hopefully I’ll get the nod to be captain again. It would be great to do one in Scotland, obviously even more special being at the Old Course. Like I said in my closing speech, we’ll be ready and waiting without a doubt.”
On 20th December 2021 The R&A confirmed that Wilson would captain the GB&I Men’s Team in the St. Andrews Trophy match to be played against Continent of Europe in Slovakia on 21-22 July 2022. No mention was made of the 2022 Walker Cup match in this announcement but it would be a surprise if he was not to continue in the role for another year.
Commenting upon his original appointment in 2019 Wilson said “I am very proud to be selected as the GB&I men’s team captain and look forward to leading a talented group of golfers at the St Andrews Trophy and the Walker Cup.”
“I have fond memories of my time as a player representing GB&I in these prestigious matches and I am determined to make a valuable contribution to the team as its leader and in helping the players.
Hinting at some succession planning by The R&A he went on: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on The R&A Boys’ Selection Committee and know first-hand the level of talent which is emerging. It feels like a very natural progression to be taking on this role to continue to foster these gifted amateur golfers.”
Stuart Wilson (Photo: carnoustiecountry.com)
Wilson was the Managing Secretary of Forfar G.C., the club he represented with distinction as a player for many years. In January 2021 he joined Blairgowrie G.C. in the same capacity.
He is married to Lesley and they have two children.
In an impressive amateur career Wilson won the 2003 Lytham Trophy, the 2004 Amateur Championship and the Silver Medal at the 2004 Open Championship.
He represented GB&I in the Palmer Cup in 2001 and 2002 and the Walker Cup in 2003.
He has captained the Scotland Boys team, the European Junior Ryder Cup team (2012 & 2014 at Blairgowrie) and most recently the GB&I Boys team (2017-19).
United States of America
On 9th March 2022 the USGA announced the selections of Mike McCoy and Nathan Smith as USA Team captains for the 2023 and 2025 Walker Cup matches respectively.
Nathan Smith and Mike McCoy (Photo: USGA)
Mike MCCOY (59, d.o.b. 21st November 1962), is from Des Moines, Iowa where he works in the insurance industry.
He played in the 2015 Walker Cup at Royal Lytham & St. Annes where he became the third-oldest Walker Cup competitor in history at 52 years old.
He won the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, becoming the second-oldest champion in the event’s history at age 50. He has competed in a total of 65 USGA championships, including 20 U.S. Amateurs during his career.
Following his appointment McCoy said “I just want to make it a great experience for the players who will make up our next team in 2023. I’m looking forward to the whole process. They’re all going to be great players so hopefully I can offer a steady hand and get out of the way and let them do their thing.”
Given the next two matches are being played at prestigious venues, St. Andrews and Cypress Point, as well as the comfort of a growing list of captaincy candidates it appears the USGA have decided to do away with the two match approach that both teams have traditionally taken.
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