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De Vere Slaley Hall to host 26th PGA Cup

Great Britain and Ireland face a tough task as they prepare to take on USA on home soil

THE build-up to the 26th staging of the PGA Cup is well and truly underway as the Great Britain and Ireland team prepare to take on the United States of America at De Vere Slaley Hall in September. The contest pitches leading PGA Professionals from both sides of the Atlantic against each other in a Ryder Cup match play format over three days.

Changes have been made to the selection process for the Great Britain and Ireland team and they hope this will give them a better chance of victory.

The ten-man team was previously determined solely by the flagship PGA Professional Championship event across two years, but it will now feature the leading six point scorers over two years at that event plus the top three finishers at the Titleist PGA Play-Offs in the year prior to the PGA Cup and a final captain’s pick.

Opportunity

“The amendments to the selection process are about ensuring all our fully qualified members who play competitive golf have the opportunity to compete in the PGA Cup matches and represent Great Britain and Ireland,” said Sandy Jones, PGA chief executive, when the changes were first announced last January.

“It is important to ensure we have our best players available and the advent of the PGA Play-Offs in recent years gives a second gateway to qualification and achieving that aim. As does the decision to reinstate captain's picks.

“This was used in previous matches and gives the captain the chance to include a player of his choice who he feels can add value to those who have already earned qualification.”

Scotsman Russell Weir is the man that will be making the pick as he captain's the side for the second successive time. Weir, who will be 62-years-old when the tournament begins, is confident of avenging the 171/2-81/2 defeat the American team inflicted upon his side two years ago.

“It's great to have another go to make up for last time and it's another chance to get my hands on that trophy and win it for the PGA,” he said. “I still think about what happened last time and I have learned from that and will certainly use the experience gained.”

SELECTION

Speaking of the introduction of captain's picks to the selection process, Weir said: “It's an interesting change and will certainly mean a bit more travelling across the regions to see as many players as possible that could come into the reckoning. It certainly widens the scope to include players that might just miss out on making the team.”

Weir is an established PGA professional who was one of Scotland’s most accomplished players in the 1980’s and 1990’s winning a raft of titles and he was a popular choice amongst many within the PGA.

Jones said of Weir’s selection: “It was a unanimous view of our Executive Committee that Russell Weir should be given the opportunity to lead the Great Britain and Ireland PGA Cup team as captain at De Vere Slaley Hall in 2013.”

“It is fitting that in the 40th anniversary since the commencement of the PGA Cup matches that Russell will again be involved for a fourth decade, having represented GB&I in the 80s and 90s, in 2000 and as captain in 2011 which is a fantastic achievement.”

“He led the team well in Cordevalle and I am sure with the new team selection criteria will be working hard for us to regain the trophy for the first time since we won under Jim Farmer at The K Club.”

Great Britain and Ireland have not won the PGA Cup since 2005 at The K Club and so will be going all out to ensure the Llandudno Trophy finally returns to this side of the Atlantic this year.

The American team, meanwhile, will arrive looking to continue their domination of the clash in recent times, having won the event 11 times in the last 13 stagings.

This year’s match takes place at De Vere Slaley Hall from September 20-22.

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