Walker Cup named Scottish sports event of the year

The Walker Cup has been named Event of the Year at the annual Sunday Mail/SportScotland Scottish Sports Awards 2011.

Royal Aberdeen hosted the two-day biennial team competition in September which attracted thousands of spectators to watch the 10 best male amateurs from Great Britain & Ireland take on their counterparts from the United States.

GB&I went into the contest as underdogs against a US team that included six of the world’s top 10 amateurs but brilliant performances, from the likes of Welsh teenager Rhys Pugh and Open Championship Silver Medallist Tom Lewis, saw the team win the Walker Cup for the first time since 2003.

Captained by Nigel Edwards, the victory means that GB&I has now claimed four of the last five Walker Cups played on home soil, dating to 1995 at Royal Porthcawl in Wales.

R&A Championships Assistant Directors Rhodri Price and Michael Wells joined Royal Aberdeen’s Niall Farquharson to accept the award from European Tour pros Alastair Forsyth and Scott Jamieson at the Glasgow ceremony.

Price, who was GB&I Team Manager at Royal Aberdeen, said: “Royal Aberdeen staged a wonderful Walker Cup that will live long in the memories of all those involved.

“Despite having to deal with some pretty severe wind and rain, we attracted big crowds who witnessed some thrilling golf and were able to toast a home victory come Sunday night.

“This award recognises the hard work put in by all those involved in staging what was a truly world class sporting event.”

The Walker Cup beat off competition from, among others, the Great Britain Davis Cup tennis matches against Luxembourg and Hungary at Glasgow’s Braehead Arena.

The televised awards show, hosted by ESPN presenter Kelly Cates, also saw Scottish Walker Cup players Michael Stewart and James Byrne nominated in the Amateur Performance of the Year category.

Former Scotland and Rangers manager Walter Smith was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award, while tennis star Andy Murray won Scottish Sports Personality of the year.