Golf News’ intrepid reporter Clive Agran gets inside the ropes for the final day’s play at this year’s PGA Cup at Foxhills Country Club & Resort in Surrey, but sadly his presence wasn’t enough to see the home side lift the Llandudno Trophy
Even though my battered 20-year-old Honda looked somewhat out of place among the sleek Jaguars, BMWs and Mercedes, finding somewhere to park wasn’t a problem as I arrived at Foxhills for the final day of the PGA Cup.
For those that don’t know about it and, judging by the modest crowd, that’s probably quite a sizeable group, the PGA Cup is the club pros equivalent of the Ryder Cup. It’s biennial, the format is the same and it’s us against the USA. Perhaps the only significant difference, apart from the ease of parking, is that the PGA Cup is Great Britain and Ireland versus the USA in much the same way as the Ryder Cup was before the continent of Europe stiffened our challenge in 1979 and thereafter.
GB and I were trailing 6.5 to 9.5 overnight but with my support, they should surely be able to win at least seven of the ten matches. Oh yes, that’s another difference, this is 10-a-side not 12.
Looking at our team and their achievements, I realise that these are not ordinary club pros in that their CVs are a few notches up from those of the cheery geezers you normally meet in the pro shop who take your green fee and sell you a Mars bar. Many have played on the DP World Tour or the Challenge Tour and have a few wins more than just the two mid-week Stablefords that I’ve picked up along the way.
Only a couple of the names are familiar to me, one of which I know because I’ve played golf with his father. And so choosing which match to follow is easy as it has to be James Ruth, son of Graham, versus Larkin Gross, who is the Assistant Professional at Springfield Golf and Country Club in Virginia and may well have given lesson to Homer Simpson.
It soon becomes apparent that these guys are not just good, they are every bit as impressive as the big-name pros who ply their trade on the main tours. Why they’re not household names is probably more down to luck than anything else.
Only a handful watching as the match see-saws backwards and forwards on the beautiful Longcross course and the lead changes hand three times before both players birdie the last to tie.
It’s been great fun and the only thing to spoil a perfect day in Surrey’s autumn sunshine is that the Yanks have retained the Llandudno International Trophy.
If you want to get up close and personal with top-notch golfers playing in a prestige tournament then the PGA Cup is for you. If you don’t fancy that then how about a round at fabulous Foxhills instead?