Russell hopes Captaincy can boost PGA Cup profile

Russell hopes Captaincy can boost PGA Cup profile

21/09/2022

David (DJ) Russell is hoping his tenure as Captain of Great Britain & Ireland’s 2022 PGA Cup team can help boost the profile of the event.

Former European Tour player Russell, who was a Ryder Cup Vice-Captain in 2006 under close friend Ian Woosnam, became GB&I’s 28th PGA Cup Captain at Foxhills Club & Resort last week.

The match ended in a 15-10.5 defeat for the home team, but Russell’s stature in the game, alongside that of US Captain, Suzy Whaley, who became the first female President of the PGA of America four years ago, has helped strengthen the PGA Cup.

“We’ve been able to get it out there a bit more with my connections, not massively, but we’ve been able to get the attention of a lot of people,” said Russell, who had son Chris by his side all week as Vice-Captain.

“We’ve had an incredible amount of goodwill messages from superstar golfers and ex-Ryder Cup Captains, so people have noticed the event and that’s brilliant that that’s happened.

“It’s nice to be able to lift the event. I think my experience in the game may have helped with that, and if it has, well that’s brilliant.

“The standard of play and the level of play in this PGA Cup match was incredible. I can't believe how much I have enjoyed it. It’s nice to bring my experience into fruition into something like this. It’s lovely to get the opportunity to do it.

“The United States are our big brothers in a way, they’re such a massive organisation. They own a Major championship and they’re a big part of the Ryder Cup. It’s a wonderful relationship between our two associations and one that will hopefully grow and grow.”

Russell’s American counterpart, Whaley, agreed, adding: “This championship contested at an historic time in London, epitomised what the game is truly about.

“The competition, the camaraderie, and perhaps most importantly the bond we form as industry professionals sharing our passion and commitment to our skills and the game worldwide.”

“Golf binds us together and in the quest for a trophy, we leave with so much more than a win or loss. We leave having made memories and experiences together that will last a lifetime.”

The 30th staging of the PGA Cup was somewhat overshadowed by the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II and both players wore black ribbons as a mark of respect.

Organisers, Captains and players deserve enormous credit for the respectable tone observed all week, event during the American celebrations on the final day.

In a match full of twist and turns, it was the US who got a foothold in the match on day one, leading by three points after winning five of the eight fourball and foursome matches, while one match was halved.

GB&I needed blue points on the board but after winning the morning fourball session 2.5 - 1.5, they were unable to take that form into the afternoon. Whaley’s side won by the same score to hold a three-point lead overnight, leaving GB&I having to pull off one of the biggest comebacks in PGA Cup history to regain the Llandudno International Trophy.

The scoreboard changed throughout an action-packed singles Sunday, but it was the Americans got the first win and that set the tone of the day. Whaley’s side ran out 15.5 – 10.5 winners.

Reflecting on his team’s performance, Russell added: “I think we let ourselves down in the foursomes, which surprised me. I thought we would excel at the foursomes but we let ourselves down in those matches, which made it very difficult to get back in the singles.

“I think the singles could have gone one way or the other. We got on top at one stage but the Americans are quite a strong team

“The team have been absolutely amazing. The ten of them have all got together and been brilliant. I didn’t realise the team would buy into it so much, so it really has been incredible to get to know the lads. We got them brilliantly together and I’m’ sure that quite a few of them will carry on and be successful in everything they do within golf.

“Having my son Chris as my vice-captain, that was a wonderful opportunity. It really has been a wonderful experience.”

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