A team-bonding session has teed up Great Britain & Ireland’s PGA Cup squad - which includes Ganton professional Gary Brown - for a crack at regaining the famous Llandudno Trophy.
Captain Russell Weir gathered his 10-man side at The Belfry including the PGA North Region quintet of Brown, Craig Goodfellow (Carlisle Driving Range), John Wells (Cherry Burton), Simon Edwards (Cumbria) and David Shacklady (Mossock Hall) to ready his troops ahead of the trans-Atlantic battle which commences in California at the CordeValle resort on September 16.
“It was a great meeting, the guys got to know each other better and it was a good team building exercise,” he said.
“The main thing was they got to know each other and feel comfortable in each other’s company. It also gave me a chance to look at possible pairings and see how they gelled as partnerships.”
Weir, a veteran of a record-equalling eight appearances as a player and the head pro at Cowal Golf Club, will be hoping his vast experience can help drive his players to success but is not underestimating the size of the challenge with GB&I never having won on US soil since the event’s inception in 1973. The Scot also believes America’s defeat in the Ryder Cup will make them even more determined to cling on to the PGA Cup which they won in convincing fashion at The Carrick on Loch Lomond two years ago.
“We know the Americans, being as professional and patriotic as they are, will be really fired up especially as they lost the Ryder Cup so they will want to make sure they don’t lose the Llandudno Trophy,” he said.
“The GB& I players know they can expect some tough matches because the Americans have not been beaten on home soil and will be determined to keep that record going.
“It will be hard but the players will enjoy the course and as soon as the tournament starts, being pros, they will know what has to be done.”
The GB&I side features eight rookies with just Craig Goodfellow (Carlisle Driving Range) and Simon Edwards (Windermere) the two players with past experience.
“It’s great to have them but I don’t want to put too much pressure on anyone’s shoulders because everyone has an equally important part to play,” insisted Weir.
“Simon is a great spirit and a real warrior while Craig was part of the team that narrowly lost in Georgia four years ago and is in some of the best form of his life having won the Glenmuir PGA Professional Championship.
“Although we have eight rookies, there is a lot of experience in that side and they know the score and what to expect.”
As Weir counts down the days until they fly out to California he admits the biennial contest, which is the club pros’ equivalent of the Ryder Cup, is becoming an all-consuming passion.
“I think about the PGA Cup every day, there is no day where I don’t think about it in some capacity.
“I just hope everything goes right and that the whole team has a memorable experience representing their country.”
The last two places in the US team will be decided after the USPGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club.
The full 2011 Great Britain & Ireland PGA Cup team is as follows: Russell Weir, Captain, Cowal Golf Club; Craig Goodfellow, Carlisle Driving Range; Robert Giles, Greenore Golf Club; Gary Brown, Ganton Golf Club; David Mortimer, Galway Golf Club; Stuart Little, Minchinhampton New Golf Club; Christopher Gill, Exeter Golf & Country Club; David Shacklady, Mossock Hall Golf Club; Matthew Morris, Walmley Golf Club; John Wells, Cherry Burton Golf Club; Simon Edwards, Windermere Golf Club