2001: Captain McEvoy’s final voyage
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Sea Island, Ga.
If the choice were determined by popular demand, Peter McEvoy would be a shoo-in to return for a third term as captain of the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team.
But history says McEvoy won’t be guiding the GB&I squad when it guns for a three-peat in 2003 at Ganton Golf Club in England. And so does he.
“I just think it’s convention,” said McEvoy, when asked why – even after leading GB&I to historic back-to-back victories – he continues to resist the notion of a third captaincy. “You get one home and one away, and that’s it. So I’m yesterday’s man, or will be tomorrow, anyway.”
Right. In reality, McEvoy is a sports hero in Great Britain. Guiding GB&I to the unprecedented Walker Cup feat has only enhanced a golfing résumé that includes two British Amateur championships, five appearances in the Eisenhower Trophy, an English Stroke Play title and five Walker Cup appearances as a player. McEvoy is a passionate and vocal supporter of the amateur game.
Yet he reiterated that he wouldn’t take another Walker Cup captaincy even if it were offered.
“No, because if I say yes, it would be portrayed as trying to push for it,” McEvoy said. “I just think it’s without precedence, so I’m not sure it is something that will be even introduced, really.”
With a British Amateur championship and two British Mid-Amateur titles among his many competitive credits, Gary Wolstenholme is intimately familiar with the inner workings of amateur golf in the United Kingdom. He has played in the Walker Cup four times, twice for captain Clive Brown and twice for McEvoy, and he’d like nothing better than to play for McEvoy again.
“He has an innate ability to read an individual,” said Wolstenholme, “He knows what switches them on, and how to get the best out of people. It’s an incredible talent.”
The captain’s biggest challenge, Wolstenholme said, is earning respect and forging a cohesive team from players with individual personality quirks.
“Peter manages to stride all that,” he said.
Luke Donald, who played on the last two GB&I Walker Cup squads, said McEvoy has a knack “for saying the right thing at the right time. He’s lighthearted, but he has a serious side when it’s called for.”
Wolstenholme expects that McEvoy likely will move up to chairmanship of the select committee for the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which oversees the development of players who will be candidates to represent GB&I in international competitions such as the Walker Cup. In that position McEvoy would wield great influence in the selection of Walker Cup players – and captains.
“It’s a crucial appointment,” Wolstenholme said.
Wolstenholme said he would one day welcome a turn as Walker Cup captain, but first hopes to make the GB&I squad as a competitor in 2003.
“I’m 40, and I’m playing as well as I ever have,” said Wolstenholme, who was 2-1 at Ocean Forest, running his career Walker Cup record to 6-7.
– Dave Seanor