Duncan Stewart, young product of the Scottish Highlands, faces a big test at the World Cup of Golf this week. Chris Vogt compiled this profile as a not so perfect start of 6-over greeted the Scottish pair.
THE far north of Scotland is remote, cold, and staggeringly beautiful. It also produces a hardy breed of golfer. They play the game for keeps up there.
Duncan Stewart has emerged from the icy chill of the Highlands to be one of the promising players in Europe. Stewart grew up in Grantown on Spey, a short ride from Inverness. He’s now settled in Edinburgh and will base himself there during his first year as a European Tour professional (he recently graduated from the Challenge tour and plays his first co-sanctioned event next week at our PGA on the Gold Coast).
With Stewart on this trip are his parents, girlfriend, and close friend Keir McNicoll, who will caddie for him at the World Cup. McNicoll is the pro at revered Scottish club Gullane and liked what he saw of the Heath during practice.
“We liked the feel of the place. It’s a bit Scottish in parts, and there’s several short ‘placement’ holes. Should be a fun week.” McNicoll played the storied amateur Riversdale Cup in 2008, and also got a look at Yarra Yarra during that Victorian stay. He and Stewart hold the Sandbelt in high regard.
Of course, the World Cup is a team event, and Stewart is here to partner established US PGA TOUR player Russell Knox. The two played golf for Florida’s Jacksonville University, and Knox jumped at the chance to pick Stewart. They’ll tackle the Heath as if it were on home soil, and won’t mind the wind a bit.
Stewart’s father, on the other hand, is glad it’s his son out there, not him. Shaking his head at the speed of the greens, he says he’ll stick to his home club in Grantown.
I’m not minding your weather, though,” he says. “It’s minus nine back home.”
There’s a tough week ahead for Stewart and his partner, but he expects the learning experience to prove invaluable.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge, and to absorbing as much as I can, from Russell and the others. Of course, I’ll want to play well and contribute.”
An attitude which bodes well for his forthcoming rookie season.