ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND | The Dunvegan Hotel, which sits just 100 yards up the road from the Old Course, has been spilling over with Walker Cup fans in the lead-up to this weekend’s match between the Americans and Great Britain & Ireland.
It is a scene which Sheena and Jack Willoughby knew on a regular basis during their 24 years (1994-2017) as the hotel’s co-owners. As many as five Open Championships were played under their watch. Last Sunday was like old times as Sheena, who has stayed on as the hotel’s ambassador, oversaw a dinner for U.S. Walker Cup captain Mike McCoy and his team. Sheena and Jack had met McCoy at last year's Open and, in the knowledge that he would be back in his captaincy capacity, she wasted no time in suggesting that he bring his players to the Dunvegan.
The above captures to perfection how Sheena and Jack showed all the initiative in the world when it came to making friends with their stream of famous guests. And that in spite of the fact that they had come from an entirely different world, with Jack an oil executive from Texas who had joined Hughes Offshore in Aberdeen, the company to which Sheena had arrived via Glaxo pharmaceuticals.
For another illustration of the Willoughbys’ way with their clients, what of the day Sean Connery walked into the bar and asked Sheena for a table for one. Sheena studied the evening’s bookings and, when she realised that no such table was available, she returned to 007 with a couple of options.
On the one hand, there was a party of golfers from Aberdeen who would be delighted if he wanted to join them. On the other, he could go and sit in her office where there was a chair, a TV and a table to which she would deliver his meal. He opted for the latter, and Sheena duly took him a bottle of red wine and a steak. “Just what I wanted,” declared the star.
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