The sixth playing of the Simpson Cup takes place next month at Royal Birkdale
Royal Birkdale To Host 2017 Simpson Cup in September
On the back of a memorable 146th Open Championship, Royal Birkdale Golf Club will be adding to its impressive armoury of golfing events by playing host to the prestigious Simpson Cup, which will be staged at the Southport course from 24-27th September 2017.
The annual competition, now in its sixth edition since the inaugural event at TPC Sawgrass in 2012, pits 13 injured servicemen and veterans from the United States against their British counterparts in a Ryder Cup-style tournament that raises funds and awareness for the On Course Foundation – a charitable organisation which is registered in both the USA and the UK.
All competitors involved are members of the Foundation, which helps men and women who were injured, sick or wounded in the line of duty rebuild their lives; both through being given the opportunity to play the game, and attaining employment in the golf industry.
The Foundation also has Patrons which include the Duke of York, and formerly the late Arnold Palmer, who won the Claret Jug at Birkdale in 1961.
The Simpson Cup is the marquee event for the charity, and, in addition to Sawgrass, has graced esteemed golf courses such as Royal Lytham & St Annes (2013), Congressional Country Club (2014), Royal St George’s Golf Club (2015) and Oak Hill Country Club (2016).
Team USA will arrive at Royal Birkdale as the defending champions, having lured the Cup away from Great Britain at Oak Hill last year in a thrilling match.
Related: Team GB regain 2015 Simpson Cup
It added to Team USA’s previous triumph in 2014 at Congressional, although it is the Brits who hold the overall lead with wins at Sawgrass, Lytham and Royal St George’s.
The tournament is named after its founder, John Simpson, former Senior Vice-President of International Management Group (IMG).
Simpson, who himself only has one fully-functioning leg as a result of suffering polio as a child, is also the Chairman and Founder of the On Course Foundation, and has managed players such as Sir Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, Vijay Singh and Bernhard Langer.
And for Simpson, the opportunity to see this event grace a course as esteemed as Birkdale represents a significant coup.
“I am truly humbled that the Simpson Cup will be taking place at such an historic and glorious course,” Simpson commented.
“The recent Open Championship is still fresh in our minds, and Birkdale raised the bar, drawing in record crowds, and attracting widespread acclaim for its superb layout.”
He continued: “Each year we’ve seen the most moving and inspiring stories emerge at the Simpson Cup.
“I’m very much looking forward to seeing what the class of 2017 has in store for us, and it will be a privilege to watch these guys put on another terrific spectacle at this, one of my favourite golfing venues in the world.
“The competition, and the events leading up to it, encapsulate what the On Course Foundation is all about, and giving these incredible veterans the opportunity to shape their futures, both in terms of playing golf and building a sustainable career, is the very least they deserve.”
The 128-year old Royal Birkdale Golf Club has hosted the Open on 10 occasions, along with the Women’s and Senior Opens.
It has also played host to the Walker and Curtis Cups, although it is arguably its second staging of the Ryder Cup in 1969 which evokes the most vivid memories, when Jack Nicklaus famously conceded a short putt to Tony Jacklin to halve both theirs and the overall match.
It is that spirit which the Simpson Cup epitomises, and despite it being a fiercely competitive contest between the two sides – each of which boasts a professional golfer among their ranks – the levels of camaraderie and friendship continue to endure.
“We have been closely involved with the Foundation since 2012, and were delighted to offer John the opportunity to host the Simpson Cup in the same year that we hosted The Open,” said Michael Burns, Captain of The Royal Birkdale Golf Club.
“Aside from the heroic performances on display from the players, this tournament offers something so profound and inspiring, and it is truly a great honour for us to be a part of the fantastic work the On Course Foundation is doing.”
The Simpson Cup commences on the evening of Sunday September 24th with the Opening Ceremony and subsequent fundraising dinner at the Royal Birkdale clubhouse.
The following day sees the player/sponsors’ competition taking place, before the tournament then begins in earnest on the morning of Tuesday September 26th with six four-ball matches (two against two, better ball) at the famous old links.
The competition then concludes on the Wednesday morning with 12 singles matches – again at Birkdale.
Proceedings will be rounded off later that day with the Cup being presented to the winning team, before the Closing Ceremony brings the curtain down on what will undoubtedly be a memorable week for all involved.
Schedule of Simpson Cup Events (all on site at Royal Birkdale):
Sunday, September 24th: Official Opening Ceremony, followed by Fundraising Dinner
Monday, September 25th: Player/Sponsor tournament
Tuesday, September 26th: Simpson Cup Tournament Day 1 – Four Ball matches
Wednesday, September 27th: Simpson Cup Tournament Day 2 – Singles matches
Wednesday, September 27th: Cup presentation and Closing Ceremony