Both Great Britain & Ireland and the United States will wear black ribbons this week as they prepare to face each other in the 30th PGA Cup matches which begins at Foxhills Club & Resort, Surrey from today (Sept 16) until Sunday (Sept 18).
The hosts will be led by former European Tour player and ex-Ryder Cup Vice Captain David Russell, while the America Captain is Suzy Whaley, who in 2018 became the first woman elected to serve as President of the PGA of America.
The event is seen as the pinnacle for any PGA Professional as both teams go head-to-head in a Ryder Cup format to win The Llandudno International Trophy.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my career in golf, and this is very much a high point in my career,” said David Russell, whose son Chris will serve as Vice Captain. “I’m honoured to be Captain of Great Britain & Ireland in a PGA Cup.”
“It’s a tremendous honor to serve as United States Captain for the 30th PGA Cup, as we come together at a magnificent venue to celebrate the game of golf,” said Whaley. “We’re certainly aware of the formidable challenge we will face from another talented GB&I squad and the difficulty that comes with winning on foreign soil.”
Speaking ahead of the 30th PGA Cup matches, Russell said: “It’s a massive honour anyway, but particularly with what’s gone on over the last few days. Queen Elizabeth II has always been around for us, so from a personal point of view it’s almost like losing your grandmother or the grand-figure in your family.”
Whaley added: “I knew coming over here it will be historic time. I was thinking about how we would handle the matches and would they be able to go on. I was thrilled that they could go on because she loved sports, she loved sporting events and I’m hopeful that she’s thrilled that we’re having this competition.”
Foxhills will make PGA Cup history this week when it becomes only the second venue in the tournament’s 49-year history to host the matches twice, following the lead of 2006 Ryder Cup host venue The K Club in Ireland (1992 and 2005).
The PGA Cup was first played at Pinehurst (North Carolina) Country Club in 1973, with the Americans winning the first match 13-3. GB&I notched their first PGA Cup win 1978 with a 10½ – 6½ victory at St Mellion, but overall the history books make grim reading from a British and Irish standpoint, with the Americans winning 18 times compared to GB&I’s seven, while there have been four draws.
Great Britain & Ireland team
Matthew Cort (Beedles Lake Golf Club) – Played in PGA Cup 2017 & 2019 (6-3-0)
David Higgins (Waterville Golf Links) – Played in 2017 (3-1-1) Vice-Captain 2019
Greig Hutcheon (Torphins Golf Club) – Played in 2013 & 2017 (3-4-1)
Adam Keogh (Woodhall Spa Golf Club) – Debut
Simon Lilly (Wellingborough Golf Club) – Debut
Ashley Mansell (Clevedon Golf Club) – Debut
Paul McKechnie (Braid Hills Golf Range) – Debut
James Ruth (China Fleet Golf & Country Club) – Debut
Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Hotel & Golf Resort) – Debut
Daniel Whitby-Smith (Drayton Park Golf Club) – Debut
United States team
Alex Beach (Stillwater, Minnesota) – Played in 2019 PGA Cup (2-2-0)
Frank Bensel Jr. (Jupiter, Florida) – Debut
Michael Block (Mission Viejo, California) – Played in 2015 PGA Cup (3-1-0)
Larkin Gross (Center Cross, Virginia) – Debut
Jared Jones (Houston) – Debut
Jesse Mueller (Phoenix) – Debut
Ben Polland (Jackson, Wyoming) – Played in 2015 PGA Cup (0-3-2)
Omar Uresti (Austin, Texas) – Played in 2015 & 2017 PGA Cups (4-1-3)
Ryan Vermeer (Omaha, Nebraska) – Played in 2019 PGA Cup (3-2-0)
Wyatt Worthington II (Reynoldsburg, Ohio) – Debut
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