149. Willie Milne Has Died Aged 71

24th February 2023

William Torbet Gray Milne passed away on 31st January 2023 aged 71.

Born in Scotland on 13th July 1951 Willie, who had been based in Germany since 2004, suffered a cardiac arrest whilst on holiday in Thailand.

He was a ‘larger than life’ character who stood 6 ft. 4” tall and weighed in at over 16 stones.

In 1972 Milne was selected for a GB&I U21 Youths team in a match against Europe at Glasgow Gailes G.C. and for Scotland in the Men’s Home Internationals.

In 1973 he represented Scotland in the European Amateur Team Championship in Portugal. Scotland, who lost to England in the Final, and Milne – who tied for the leading score in the qualifying with a 71 before winning five of the six games he was involved in in the match play stages – both made a favourable impression.  

His performance earned him a place in the GB&I 1973 Walker Cup team that travelled in August to The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.

The team lost the match 14-10 mainly because they failed to win any of the eight Foursomes games that were played, losing six and halving two. Milne playing with Charlie Green on Day 1 lost to Danny Edwards and James Ellis by 2&1. On Day 2 he was paired with Hugh Stuart and in a tight match lost by 1 Hole to Bill Rogers and Michael Killian.

On a positive note Milne won both of his Singles games, defeating Mark Pfeil 4&3 on Friday and Mark Killian 2&1 on Saturday. Unusually GB&I won the two Singles sessions 9-7 that year.

Willie Milne Signs a Contract with his manager Derek Pillage in February 1974 

Milne turned professional shortly after playing in the Home Internationals in September 1973, competing on the European Tour with little success between 1973 and 1980.

His reputation was damaged in 1975 after he was fined £500 by the PGA for scoring irregularities in the Nigerian Open which led to his disqualification. He signed for a 5 on the 12th hole in the 3rd round when he had in fact taken 6. Despite subsequently realising his error he failed to report it and played out the 4th Round. 

He played in five Open Championships in the 1970s, the first as an amateur in 1973, but failed to make the cut in any of them.

Milne’s best result as a professional came in the 1979 French Open when he finished second to fellow Scot Bernard Gallacher at Golf Club de Lyon earning around €5,500. 

He represented GB&I in two PGA Cup matches in 1982 and 1986. 

During his playing career and from 1981 as a club pro. he was attached to a number of clubs, namely Tayside Golf, the Machrie Hotel on Islay, Sand Martins G.C. in Berkshire, the Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle, Royal Dornoch and Carnoustie Golf Course Hotel & Resort.

Willie was at Carnoustie when it hosted the Open Championship in 1999. Ironically he earned more attention from playing as a 3rd Round marker, where he recorded a 76, than he had during his entire time as a Tour player. His time at Carnoustie came to a sad end when he was sacked in January 2001 for drunken behaviour at a Christmas party the previous month, albeit he successfully claimed for unfair dismissal at an industrial tribunal in Dundee in September 2002. 

Willie Milne’s Current LinkedIn Profile Photo

Willie moved to Germany in 2004, initially working at Olching G.C. near Munich for five years before representing Golfglobal Ltd as a consultant until the time of his sudden death.

Addition Sources: The PGA Obituary


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