25th March 2016
The R&A and new captain Craig Watson (SCO) yesterday announced an 18-man GB&I Squad for the 2016 St. Andrews Trophy match against the Continent of Europe.
7 players from Scotland, 5 from England, 4 from Ireland and 2 from Wales have been selected. They are listed below in alphabetical order: –
David BOOTE (WAL)
Jamie BOWER (ENG)
Owen EDWARDS (WAL)
Ewen FERGUSON (SCO)
Grant FORREST (SCO)
John Ross GALBRAITH (IRE)
Alex GLEESON (IRE)
Stuart GREHAN (IRE)
Scott GREGORY (ENG)
Jack HUME (IRE)
Jack MCDONALD (SCO)
Robert MACINTYRE (SCO)
Greg MARCHBANK (SCO)
Bradley MOORE (ENG)
Marco PENGE (ENG)
Craig ROSS (SCO)
Connor SYME (SCO)
Ashton TURNER (ENG)
The current GB&I Scratch Players World Amateur Golf Ranking is shown below: –
The current GB&I World Amateur Golf Ranking is also shown below: –
As one would expect the Squad largely reflects the current rankings.
The obvious omission is Sam HORSFIELD (ENG) who has made a strong start to his freshman year at Florida on the US College circuit and sits near the top of both rankings. It is unclear at the moment whether the R&A have ignored him after his late Walker Cup withdrawal last summer or Sam has simply made himself unavailable. It is interesting to note that he has made himself available for Europe’s Palmer Cup Team and the match taking place against the United States at Formby GC in June.
Jimmy ALLEN (ENG) who was well placed in the rankings turned pro ahead of the MENA Tour opener in Morocco this week and was therefore not considered.
From an analysis of the two rankings – and in particular looking at those players that either sit in the Top 18 or above others that have been selected – the following players may consider themselves unlucky (or additionally motivated for the next few months): Paul KINNEAR (ENG), Jamie SAVAGE (SCO), Paul MCBRIDE (IRE), Robin DAWSON (IRE), Craig HOWIE (SCO) and James WALKER (ENG).
A speedy recovery is hoped for both Jonathan THOMSON (ENG) and Sean TOWNDROW (ENG) who have both been battling injury and health issues in recent months and whose exclusions are understandable.
The match, which will be contested by a team of 9, is to be played at Prince’s Golf Club in Kent, England on Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st July 2016. The St. Andrews Trophy has been played for since 1956. GB&I have won 25 times with Europe having just five wins to their name, albeit two of them came in 2010 and 2012.
Looking ahead to July’s match Craig Watson said: “We have a strong group of players to call upon again this year and there is a good mixture of experience and youth in the squad. We know we will be in for a tough match at Prince’s so we have to pick the best team we can and the players will be working hard throughout this season to impress the selectors”.
GB&I won the 2014 match at Barsebäck, Sweden by a 14 – 10 scoreline. Grant Forrest is the only member of that winning team to be included in the 2016 Squad. His fellow Scottish Internationals Jamie Savage and Graeme Robertson are the only other members of the 2014 Team to remain amateur.
A long way to go until the 2017 Walker Cup but nevertheless it is worth recording the players that the R&A currently view as their strongest.
Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.