Yorkshire golfer Gary Brown is gambling on being in top form ahead of representing Great Britain & Ireland against the United States in the PGA Cup in California from Friday.
The Ganton PGA pro has been adding some spice to his practice sessions ahead of the 25th PGA Cup matches at CordeValle Golf Resort by playing for a few quid with good friend and team-mate John Wells from Cherry Burton Golf Club.
The Yorkshire duo is part of Russell Weir’s 10-man team bidding to win on US soil for the first time since the biennial contest’s inception back at the legendary Pinehurst in 1973.
“John and I have had a couple of practice sessions and we do the Dave Peltz short game tests where you hit a couple of bunker shots then pitch shots and so on, getting points for how close you get to the flag,” said Brown.
“We play for a fiver and when it comes to the short game, John generally has the edge so if I end up winning the cash I know I’ve been pretty good.”
Playing in the PGA Cup is the pinnacle for any PGA professional and Brown admits it is a tantalizing prospect, facing the cream of US PGA professionals over the Robert Trent Jones Jnr-designed CordeValle course.
However, despite its importance, the 47-year-old is adopting a low key approach.
“There is a lot of pressure because it such a prestigious event. You are representing your country but I’m trying to not make too big a thing of it and just go out and enjoy it,” he said.
“I think you play better in these events if you can relax a bit so I’m just going to be concentrating on my golf.
“However, as much as I want to enjoy it and do well, the bottom line is we want to win.”
Brown’s qualification for the team, which will be captained by Russell Weir, has ignited interest in the PGA Cup among Ganton members.
The Ryder Cup-style contest has also captured the imagination of Brown’s twin son Tom.
The 14-year-old returns to school this week so misses the trip but the teenager has been quick to let his dad know of the challenge ahead.
“Tom’s been on the website checking out all the American players, giving me the low down on them and teasing me about how strong they are and who I need to avoid,” he said.
“And if you look at their records they’re all very impressive but we have got a good team too and I’m sure it will be a hard-fought match.”
The full 2011 Great Britain & Ireland PGA Cup team is:
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
John Kennedy Wexham Park Golf Club
John Wells, Cherry Burton Golf Club
Simon Edwards, Windermere Golf Club
** John Kennedy is a late replacement for Matt Morris (Walmley Golf Club) who has withdrawn through injury.