Back in June I finished fourth in the PGA Championships in Ireland, meaning I automatically qualified for the PGA Cup, much to my delight. The PGA Cup, in a similar style to the Ryder Cup, is a match between a PGA team representing Great Britain and Ireland against a PGA team from the USA. Qualification was extremely satisfying for me, as I had missed out two years ago by half a point.
The event takes place every two years and on this occasion will be played at Foxhills in Surrey from 15 – 17 September. In 2015, the Great Britain and Ireland team won the PGA Cup on US soil for the first time ever and if we manage to win this time round, we will be the first team to retain the trophy.
The team gathered a few weeks ago at Foxhills, for the purpose of getting to know each other and also to get a taste of the course. The team is full of experience, with ex-European Tour players and winners among us. I am actually the second youngest in the team at 35, so it really shows we have experience on our side. Our Captain Albert McKenzie and vice captains Martin Thompson and Cameron Clark have done a fantastic job with getting the team to bond, which will be crucial when we come to play in September.
As PGA professionals we don't get the chance to play team golf anymore; the last time I played as a team was back when I was an amateur, playing for Northumberland and my local club Stocksfield.
I owe an awful lot to Stocksfield Golf Club for my development as a player and becoming the professional I am today. Stocksfield is a small woodland course in Northumberland, very tight tee to green with very undulating fairways. I was fortunate to be part of a very strong junior section at the time, which provided the perfect environment for a young golfer to develop in. In fact from that section, Stocksfield has produced four professionals, one of which is Chris Paisley who is currently on the European Tour. Having these players to compete against at such an early age was the catalyst for my success now.
This is something we are trying to create at Golf At Goodwood with our Junior leagues and coaching. It’s about creating an environment where a young player can develop naturally. We are starting to see signs of this success with the scratch team reaching the final of the Oliver Trophy. Our Golf at Goodwood club champion Leo Ruggieri is just 18 years old, but I think this is just the start of talented youngsters coming through.
Its free admission for The PGA Cup and it will also be shown on Sky Sports. It's a great opportunity to get close to the players and myself and the rest of the GB & I team would love your support!