Healthy rivalry is the cornerstone of the Home Internationals and this will be the case once again when England host the annual three-day event at Ganton Golf Club in north Yorkshire this summer.
“It’s a massive event and all about national pride and rivalry,” said England international Neil Raymond when England Golf held a Media Day at Ganton (image copyright Tom Ward) as a prelude to the matches with Ireland, Scotland and Wales on 14th – 16th August.
“Players from the four home countries play alongside each other in individual events week-in, week-out, during the year. But we play against each other in the Home Internationals and then it’s all about bragging rights,” added Raymond.
“It’s a great honour to play for your country and, domestically, it doesn’t get much bigger than the Home Internationals. Scotland did us a favour two years ago by beating Ireland, which saw us win the title but they got their own back last year when we beat Ireland which gave them the title. We are determined to get it back this year.”
Although the teams will not be selected until nearer the date, England coach Graham Walker said: “Selection for the England team is not down to any particular format. You just select the best team to win the event. The England squad gets together several times during the year so it’s more about informed judgement.
“You have to take match play results into account but at the end of the day it’s all about opinions.”
Double Brabazon Trophy winner Raymond was joined at Ganton by fellow England caps Garrick Porteous, Jamie Rutherford and Nick Marsh while Fraser McKenna and Graeme Robertson, members of the Scottish Performance Squad, journeyed south to support the day and to get a taste of the prestigious course.
All six players then joined members of the press, sponsors and dignitaries on the course for an 18-hole Stableford competition in perfect weather.
With the two best scores on each hole to count, it was the foursomes of Mei Tierney and Paul McGlynn, both from PowaKaddy, Myles Waud of Professional Sports Group, and Jim Law from Chester Golf Centre who came out on top with 78 points, two more than Nick Marsh’s team of Danny Lockwood (Yorkshire Golfer), Alan Hedley (Northern Golfer) and Yorkshire County Secretary Keith Dowswell.
Marsh also left his mark on the play with a hole-in-one with a six iron at the 168-yard tenth hole.
England Golf is hoping for a bumper crowd for the Home Internationals. Lynne Fraser, Marketing and PR Manager for England Golf, said: “We are hoping for a good turnout for the event. It is being played during the school holidays and Ganton is only a few miles from Scarborough so it could be a good day out for fans.”