Preparations are underway at Foxhills Club & Resort as the venue gears up to host the 30th PGA Cup this September, an event which is seen as the pinnacle for any PGA Professional.
The popular Surrey resort will once again welcome club professionals representing the PGAs of Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) and America as they go head-to-head in a Ryder Cup format to win The Llandudno International Trophy.
Taking place from September 16-18, the GB&I team will be looking to regain the title they lost in dramatic fashion to the Americans after the hosts staged a remarkable final-day comeback at Barton Creek Resort in Austin, Texas, in 2019.
The PGA Cup returns to Foxhills and its revered Longcross course for a second time following the success of the 2017 tournament, when Albert Mackenzie led his GB&I team to an emphatic 16-10 victory. Since last hosting the event, the Surrey resort has undergone a £25million redevelopment programme, and joins The K Club in Ireland as the only other venue on home shores to have hosted the prestigious event on more than one occasion.
Ahead of the contest, more than 160 Foxhills members have already put their names forward to volunteer at the event to help staff members and PGA Cup officials with the running of the competition.
In a bid to get their own preparations underway, the GB&I team visited Foxhills from July 17-18 to familiarise themselves with the resort. Captain DJ Russell and his team enjoyed a relaxing two-day, team-bonding retreat to the Surrey countryside to test themselves on the Longcross course, which consistently features in UK top 100 rankings and requires precise play to navigate its tree-lined layout.
The GB&I visit could prove vital given the make-up of the team, featuring only three players with previous PGA Cup experience and seven debutants. Matthew Cort - who qualified after recently winning the PGA Professional Championship at Slaley Hall - remains from the 2019 team and will be reunited with David Higgins and Greig Hutcheon - who both missed out on selection in 2019 but were on the winning side at Foxhills five years ago.
Higgins was one of four golfers who qualified for the team through the PGA ranking system, along with Daniel Whitby-Smith, Ashley Mansell and Simon Lilly. Meanwhile, Hutcheon, Simon Thornton and Adam Keogh earned their spots via the PGA Play-offs earlier this year, with Paul McKechnie and James Ruth selected as captain’s picks.
“Foxhills is a fantastic facility”, DJ Russell said. “It is probably 50 years since I first came to Foxhills when it was first establishing itself as an elite golf venue; I have been here a few times since and it just continues to get better and better.”
“It is incredible when you see how they have developed the place over the last few years. Foxhills will be a great venue for the 2022 matches and I am sure we will have a great time there for the week."
In contrast to the GB&I team, half of the Americans have previous PGA Cup experience as they look to win away for the first time since 2009.
Chris Fitt, Foxhills’ director of golf and leisure, said: “It is an honour to be hosting this prestigious event for a second time. Preparations are well underway to deliver a successful event and ensure the teams and spectators enjoy a fantastic week of golf.
“Excitement is certainly building here, and it was great to host the Great Britain & Ireland side for the team-bonding weekend. We look forward to welcoming the US contingent.”
Foxhills has a long tradition of hosting elite level golf after staging several high-profile PGA and PGA EuroPro Tour events, including the European Tour’s Tournament Players’ Championship and its Qualifying School.