Missing out on an unforgettable trip to America for the 2015 PGA Cup was difficult to take for Christopher McDonnell. The PGA Professional, based at Golf At Goodwood in West Sussex, could be forgiven for thinking he had all but guaranteed his place in the Great Britain & Ireland team after winning the PGA Professional Championship the year before.
But McDonnell missed out on a place in Jon Bevan’s team by just half a point and it was a big blow for the former Challenge Tour player. As Bevan’s side made history in California by becoming the first GB & Ireland team to win the PGA Cup on American soil, McDonnell could only watch events unfold from back home.
Hexham-born McDonnell finished runner-up at this year’s Titleist & FootJoy PGA Professional Championship in Ireland last month, which earned him enough points to qualify for this year’s ten-man team.
“It was a bit disappointing to have missed out on the trip to America having won the PGA Professional Championship in 2014,” said McDonnell. “I missed out last time by half a point so that was disappointing. So the monkey is off my back now and I’ve got some unfinished business. The two biggest things you can do as PGA Professional are winning the PGA Professional Championship and playing in the PGA Cup and I will have done both.”
Asked how much he is looking forward to playing for his country against America on home soil, McDonnell continued: “It’s something you can look back on in your career as one of the biggest highlights. It’s what your practice for and it’s why you turn into a PGA Professional. Okay you want to teach and ultimately make some money, but playing-wise it doesn’t get much bigger than the PGA Cup.”
He will be joined by 2016 winner David Higgins in what is a very experienced ten-man GB & Ireland team led by Albert MacKenzie. The team includes no fewer than eight players with European Tour experience, including Damien McGrane, Philip Archer and Garry Houston.