Highlights of 2003
The highlights of golf in Europe were reached last September at Barsebäck Golf Club in southern Sweden, where a crowd of over 100,000 saw the victory of the European team in the Solheim Cup.
A fantastic performance and a match played in the best of sportsmanship both teams for a superb match, the Ladies European Tour and the Swedish Golf Federation for a magnificent organisation and staging of the event.
European team in the Solheim Cup
Ireland contributed a lot to European golf by hosting this year's two International Matches between GB&I and the Continent of Europe. GB&I won them both. In the Vagliano Trophy, held at Co. Louth Golf Club, the Cup went to the ladies representing GB&I in a thrilling and close match which ended at the very last hole of the last match. Final results : 12.5-11.5. According to players and officials who were present, a warm tribute should be paid to the Ladies Golf Union and the hosting club for a wonderful welcome and perfect organisation of the event.
The GB&I Walker Cup Team defeated for the 3rd successive time the US team.
In the Jacques Léglie Trophy, the superiority of the GB&I boys was obvious during the whole encounter, dominating the continental boys with a score of 16.5 to 7.5 points. The match was staged at Lahinch Golf Club with the appreciated patronage and support offered by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.
In another sensational encounter, the Walker Cup Captain Gart McGimpsey and his GB&I team beat the team of United States for the third time in succession. A unique performance. Add the titles in the European Men's team Championship and the Men's Individual Championship, our insular friends are to be congratulated for their performances this year.
A country trusting victories in all categories of the game and this for quite some years is Spain. The Royal Spanish Golf Federation produces players achieving remarkable results in major international Championships all over Europe as well as our European Team Championships.
Spain won the titles in the European Amateur Ladies and Girls (here Emma Cabrera) Team Championships. After investigation, key of these successes is not necessarily to be found around any technical guru, special training sessions or mental build up programmes. Not at all, Spain's success lies mainly within a simple national junior programme, which aims to provide happiness and desire to the young players instead of submission. Even more important is the fact that the Royal Spanish Golf Federation counts very knowledgeable and devoted junior leaders among its volunteers.
Watching international encounters, one can only be struck by the fantastic team spirit and the famous fighting spirit which drives all the British teams. To play in a GB&I team is a supreme honour for a British golfer. Unfortunately, this is not always the case for the players selected to represent the Continent of Europe. Some have even declined their selection for various reasons. This is unfortunate, not only for the Continental teams, but also for the players who miss unique opportunities to measure to the best amateur players in Europe and who are the future promising talents of the professional Ladies' and Men's Tours.
Annika Sörenstam, Suzann Pettersen, Janice Moodie, José Maria Olazabal, Colin Montgomerie, Darren Clarke, Thomas Björn, Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey, Nick Dougherty and many others will not object...
John C. Storjohann