Scotland’s Cameron Adam has been named as the playing captain of the GB&I team to face the Continent of Europe in this week’s Jacques Léglise Trophy at Falsterbo Golf Club in Sweden.
Adam, 18, is joined on the team by compatriots Daniel Bullen (16), Archie Finnie (16), Connor Graham (14) and Ruben Lindsay (17); England’s Jack Bigham (17), Josh Hill (17) and Harley Smith (16); and Ireland’s Joshua Hill (18). The team is managed by Chris King.
Collectively, they will be bidding to win back the trophy they last won in 2018 at Finland’s Kytäjä Golf. The Continent of Europe won the 2019 contest at Aldeburgh, England.
“It is a great honour to be named as captain of Great Britain & Ireland and I am very much looking forward to leading the team against the Continent of Europe as we aim to win back the trophy,” Adam said. “We know that it will be a close match but we have a talented group of players who have delivered excellent results this season so we are confident about our chances.”
It is clear the GB&I team has been named with current form very much in mind. Bigham dominated the recent Boys’ Amateur Championship at Royal Cinque Ports, winning both the stroke-play qualifier and the subsequent match-play competition. Adam’s Royal Burgess club-mate Finnie won this summer’s Scottish Boys’ Championship while Smith completed the double by winning the McGregor and Carris Trophies. Graham has a couple of junior victories under his belt this season and also caused quite a stir when he battled his way to the semi-finals of the recent Scottish Amateur at Murcar Links.
The two-day match starts with four foursomes and eight singles on Friday 27 August and concludes with four foursomes and nine singles the following day.
A host of tributes have been paid to Vivienne Player, wife of nine-time major winner Gary Player, who passed away last Wednesday following a lengthy illness.
Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Karrie Webb, Louis Oosthuizen, Sir Nick Faldo, Trevor Immelman and Thomas Bjørn were just a few of the top players who sent public messages of condolence to Player. The 85-year-old published his own moving eulogy for a woman he once described as his “rock,” to whom he had been married for 64 years. The couple had six children together, 22 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren and had met when they were both in their early teens.
“I cannot describe the deep sense of sadness I feel having lost the one person who has always meant the world to me,” Player said in his statement. “She fully supported my career and raised our six children almost singlehandedly while I was touring the world playing golf. She was a devoted wife, a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and a wonderful human being who cared so deeply for others and lived her life in service to others.”
Vivienne Player came from a golfing family. Her father, Jock Verwey, was a South African PGA champion while her brother, Bobby, won multiple tournaments around the world including the 1962 German Open, the 1965 Almaden Open Invitational on the PGA Tour and the 1991 Senior British Open. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June of last year.
A former USGA staff member has been charged with stealing thousands of US Open tickets and selling them to two Pennsylvania ticket resale companies.
Prosecutors alleged that between 2013 and 2019, Robert Fryer, the former assistant director in the USGA’s ticketing office, pilfered 23,000 tickets, with a face value of $3.4 million, and passed them on to the companies. They allegedly paid Fryer $1.15 million for the tickets and sold them for a combined profit of $1.7 million.
USGA officials indicated last week they learned of the alleged theft when contacted by federal authorities several months ago. They said they have acted since to introduce a new ticketing platform and have hired an outside auditor to help to prevent any such future thefts.
“The USGA was both appreciative and fully supportive of the efforts of the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office (for) the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in this investigation,” spokesperson Beth Major said in a statement.
Fryer, 39, faces charges of conspiracy as well as wire and mail fraud. If convicted of the most serious charge, he could face up to 20 years in federal prison.
R&A chief development officer Phil Anderton has admitted golf has to redouble its efforts if it is to attract more women and girls into the game.
“Golf historically has underperformed when it comes to women and girls,” he confirmed to The Guardian golf writer Ewan Murray. “I think the sport and the R&A has made good progress but there is a hell of a lot more to do.
“I think golf in general previously fell into the trap of talking to itself. Golf talked to golf. If you didn’t play it, you didn’t know anything about it.
“I think it also fell into the trap of just putting on programmes; come here and learn about golf. If you have a perception barrier and people don’t think it is a sport or a brand for them, you can put on every course and build every structure you want but it will be very difficult. Women and girls have to see this is a sport for them, promoted to them.”
Anderton’s comments come at a time when the R&A has ploughed close to £100 million into the development of golf in the past two decades.
Callum Hill broke into the world’s top 100 for the first time when he won the recent Cazoo Classic at London Golf Club.
The 26-year-old jumped 53 places to 97th on the Official World Golf Ranking and is now the second-placed Scot behind world No 51 Robert McIntyre.
The two Scots are coached by David Burns, who is based at Kingsfield Golf Centre in Linlithgow.
“I started working with Davy in Abu Dhabi in 2020 and it’s been great,” Hill told The Scotsman’s Martin Dempster. “The man puts in countless hours and he’s so happy to help at any time. He’s had a huge impact on the development of my game to this point. I can’t give him enough praise.”
Hill’s first European Tour win at the Cazoo Classic came hard on the heels of compatriot Grant Forrest winning for the first time at the Scottish Open and means he now has accumulated six top-10 finishes on this year’s tour.
Following in the footsteps of countryman Takumi Kanaya, Japan’s Keita Nakajima captured the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the top-ranked men’s amateur in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
The 21-year-old will receive exemptions into next year’s Open Championship at St. Andrews and the U.S. Open at The Country Club.
Although Nakajima won the Japan Amateur earlier this summer, his rise to No. 1 has been mostly due to performances in Japan Golf Tour pro events. He finished runner-up in the 2021 Token Homemate Cup, third in last year’s Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters and eighth in last year’s Dunlap Phoenix.
Top-20 finishes in the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup and Japan Open Championship bolstered Nakajima’s resume.
“I am so excited and happy to have won the 2021 Mark H. McCormack Medal,” Nakajima said in a statement. “Heading into university, my goal was to be the number one player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. I want to give many thanks for the support of my family, university, national team coaches and teammates. Without them, I could not have achieved this. I am also very proud and honoured to be awarded the medal following Takumi Kanaya.
“My next goal is to demonstrate my abilities on the world stage with confidence and hopefully follow in the footsteps of my fellow Japanese players including Hideki Matsuyama, Nasa Hataoka, Takumi Kanaya, and Yuka Saso.”
The World Amateur Golf Ranking, which is supported by Rolex, was established in 2007 and encompasses nearly 2,900 events. There are 7,309 players ranked, hailing from 117 countries.
Peter O’Keeffe joined an exclusive club when he birdied two of his last three holes on his way to winning the recent AIG Irish Close Championship.
The victory at Tullamore made the 39-year-old only the 13th player to win both the Irish Close and Irish Amateur Open titles, joining a group that includes Robbie Cannon, Pádraig Harrington, Tom Craddock, Joe Carr, Cecil Ewing, John Burke, Jimmy Bruen, JC Brown, RM McConnell, Charles Hazlet, Lionel Munn and HA Boyd.
O’Keeffe’s late charge saw him post 65 to tie Robert Moran for first place on 7-under-par 280 and he then went on to beat the Castle player in a three-hole aggregate play-off.
“I’m delighted,” said O’Keefe, who runs a strength and conditioning business from the gym at his home Douglas Golf Club. “I knew this course would suit me because I hit a high fade and I had a great ballstriking week, although I missed a lot of short putts.
“My ambition is to win titles. I don’t care about WAGR and any of that stuff. I love playing for Ireland and I love putting myself in the mix because I generally do well.
“I’m just really competitive and I love working on my swing the whole time. I love it. It’s my work and everything to me. My wife thinks I have lost the plot completely and I probably have but days like this make it all worth it.”
The R&A has launched a new golf podcast focusing on celebrating women in the sport.
The first episode of The Women’s Golf Show, hosted by Jenni Falconer, went out last week to coincide with the AIG Women’s Open and Women and Girls in Golf Week. It featured interviews with LPGA and LET player Olivia Cowen and player-turned-commentator Alison Whitaker.
The free weekly podcast will feature conversations with a wide range of top players, administrators and broadcasters.
Colin Callander and Alistair Tait