Eight Irish in McGimpsey's GB&I Concession Cup team (but no Pat Murray)
 GB&I playing captain Garth McGimpsey with Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin during the 2014 Concession Cup

GB&I playing captain Garth McGimpsey with Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin during the 2014 Concession Cup

Eight Irishmen have been named in skipper Garth McGimpsey’s 18-man Great Britain and Ireland side to face the USA in the second edition of the biennial Concession Cup at The Concession Golf Club in Florida from April 19 – 23 next year. 

That the eight do not include 44-year old Pat Murray, winner of the Munster and Connacht Mid-Amateur titles this season, is something of a surprise given his form, his record and his experience.

For those unfamiliar with the event, the organisers say it is "designed to celebrate the game through international competition while giving back to worthy causes. The event is a biennial team competition played between teams comprised of leading male Mid-Amateurs, Senior-Amateurs and Senior Amateurs - age 65+ from the United States and Great Britain and Ireland."

However, the mid-amateur age limit is the US is just 25 and older (compared to 35 and older in Ireland). Under those rules, Knock’s Colin Fairweather, the South of Ireland runner-up, qualified automatically as a mid-amateur with former East of Ireland winner Colm Campbell a captain’s pick.

Both were members of the victorious Ireland team in the Home Internationals at Royal Portrush this year and both finished ahead of Murray in the Willie Gill Order of Merit.

Portmarnock's Geoff Lenehan (426th in the WAGR) was also a contender for a spot and can feel hard done by as he is ranked ahead of captain's picks Campbell (453rd), Mike Hearne (543rd), John Kemp (3,522nd) and Edward Richardson (1,036th)

Seniors Tom Cleary and Adrian Morrow and over 65s, Nigel Duke and Maurice Kelly qualified automatically while McGimpsey’s other “captain’s picks” were himself, mid-amateurs Campbell, Hearne, Hemp and Richardson; and seniors Ronnie Clark, Stephen East and Arthur Pierse.

According to the Concession Cup website, “the selection process for the GB&I team was lead by a special committee with consideration given to the Orders of Merit of the four relevant golfing unions in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. 

"Also taken into consideration were the European Team Championships, European Individual Championship, British Seniors Open and The Home Internationals. Additionally, the team includes four captain’s picks for both mid-amateur (25 and over) and senior-amateur (55 and over) categories, provided by returning GB&I team captain, McGimpsey....
"Players will compete over three days through the traditional team match-play formats of foursome, fourball and singles. Each team will be comprised of 18 players separated into three categories: eight (8) Mid-Amateur members (age 25 to 54), eight (8) Senior Amateur members age 55 and older and two (2) Senior Amateur members age 65 and older."

McGimpsey said: “The Concession Cup has quickly become a favourite event among our eligible amateurs and a genuine source of pride to be selected to the team. 

“We have assembled a strong squad to represent Great Britain and Ireland in 2016 and are all eager to come together in the truest spirit of international competition and battle the U.S. for the Sir Michael Bonallack and William Campbell Trophy.”

According to the organisers returning captain Vinny Giles and the Amateur Golf Alliance (AGA), a newly formed organisation established to conduct The Concession Cup matches as well as other events in an effort to promote the amateur game at the highest level of competition, used differing criteria to select the US team.

"The U.S. Team includes a combination of spots earned through the World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR™), as well as AGA selections, based on a list of criteria that includes results from top amateur tournaments and career performance and accomplishments. The four highest ranked U.S. mid-amateurs and senior-amateurs within the WAGR™ earned automatic spots on the team.  All automatic bids for the 2016 U.S. Concession Cup Team were determined on October 15, 2015.”

GB&I Team 

Mid-Amateur (25-54)    

  • Colm Campbell (CP)    
  • Matthew Clark
  • Colin Fairweather
  • Barry Hume    
  • Mike Hearne (CP)        
  • John Kemp (CP)        
  • Edward Richardson (CP)        
  • Ben Westgate        

Senior-Amateurs (55 and over)

  • Ronnie Clark (CP)
  • Tom Cleary
  • Stephen East (CP)
  • David Gardner    
  • Garth McGimpsey* (CP)
  • Adrian Morrow
  • Richard Partridge
  • Arthur Pierse (CP)

Over 65s

  • Nigel Duke
  • Maurice Kelly

 (CP) Denotes Captain’s Pick
 * Denotes Playing Captian

U.S. Team

Mid-Amateur (age 25 to 54)

  • Scott Harvey (1)
  • Mike McCoy (2)
  • Joe Alfieri (3)
  • Todd White (4)
  • Patrick Christovich
  • Tim Jackson
  • Sammy Schmitz
  • Nathan Smith

Senior-Amateurs  (55 and Over)

  • Doug Hanzel (1)    
  • Brady Exber (2)
  • Bob Kearney (3)    
  • Jack Hall (4)    
  • Chip Lutz    
  • Bryan Norton
  • Paul Simson
  • Pat Tallent

Over 65s

  • Vinny Giles (Captain)
  • Jim Holtgrieve

The U.S. Team won the inaugural Concession Cup title in 2014, capturing the Sir Michael Bonallack and William Campbell Trophy 21 ½ to 14 ½ over the GB&I Team.