- St Andrews Trophy
St Andrews Trophy
The St Andrews Trophy is played every second year between two 9-man amateur teams selected to represent Great Britain and Ireland against the Continent of Europe. The format has changed considerably down the years but it’s always been played over two consecutive days with a mixture of foursomes and singles matches.
Currently, there are four foursomes played on both days, followed by eight singles on the first day then nine singles on the second day. The GB&I team is selected by the R&A and the Continent of Europe side is chosen by the European Golf Association.
The tournament was originally known simply as the match between the British Isles and the Continent of Europe and it wasn’t until the fifth edition was contested at Muirfield in 1964 that the teams played for the St Andrews Trophy.
It all started back in 1956 when the Wentworth Club agreed to host the inaugural match over its West course in Surrey. The home side won that first competition 12½ to 2½ and it would take another eighteen years until the Continent of Europe recorded its first victory in 1974.
The format at the outset was five foursomes on the first day and ten singles on the second day, with all ties played over 36 holes. By 1962, at Halmstad in Sweden, matches were reduced to 18 holes for teams of eleven golfers, with five foursomes and ten singles on each day giving a total of thirty points to play for.
The match composition was further revised in 1982 at Rosendaelsche in The Netherlands, with both 9-man teams playing four foursomes and eight singles on each day. The Continent of Europe gained its second success at this event, winning 14 points to 10, holding onto the 4-point lead from the first day’s play.
To date, the European team has only prevailed once on foreign soil, at Portmarnock in Ireland in 2012, when captain Alexis Godillot’s team narrowly held off the GB&I team led by Nigel Edwards (12½-11½) to retain the trophy they’d won at Castelconturbia in Italy two years previously.
Despite the Great Britain & Ireland team winning twenty-five of the thirty-two editions played up to the cancelled event at Royal Porthcawl in 2020, the matches have been closely contested in recent years, with Europe also winning at Linna Golf in Finland in 2018.
In terms of most appearances, Alexis Godillot of France leads the way for Europe, playing in ten St Andrews Trophy championships (1964-1982), followed by Claes Hohncke of Sweden with six (1962-1974) then Freddy Rodesch of Belgium with five (1960-1968).
For Great Britain & Ireland, Michael Bonnallack of England is the most capped golfer with eight appearances (1958-1972), then there are two players on seven: Charlie Green of Scotland (1962-1976) and Gary Wolstenholme of England (1992-2004).
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