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The captain of the Scotland disability golf team has missed out on a famous international win.
However, John Pennycott from Whiting Bay still played a key role in the build up to the event and the team recognise they owe a great deal of thanks and gratitude to John and the support for the team from Arran.
It was last year that John was selected to be the captain of the golf team for the SDGC (Scottish Disability Golf and Curling) for their match against a European Select for the Phoenix Cup at Cardrona in the Borders held in August.
John takes up the story: ‘The top eight players from the Scottish order of merit qualified automatically for the team plus I had four ‘wildcard’ picks – no easy task. The Scottish team I selected contained golfers who were amputees, partially sighted, MS sufferers and other disabilities.
‘One of my responsibilities was to arrange some sponsorship for team tops etc and the Arran community were extremely generous. In particular I got a lot of help from Arran Active, the Auchrannie Hotel, County Carpets, the Douglas Hotel and the Isle of Arran Distillery.
‘Unfortunately two weeks before the competition I had to go into hospital for hernia surgery which couldn’t be put off and I had to miss out – I was really gutted and disappointed but I knew I had two good vice captains, Jim Thomson from Millport and Derek Milne from Fife, who would take over from me.
‘Throughout the three days of Ryder Cup style games I was in constant touch with them from home as we discussed team pairings, the order of play and other small problems that emerged. The Scottish team played very well and won by 14 points to 10 over the three days, although in many ways the real winners were all 24 players who have overcome various challenges and disabilities to play in the competition. The quality of golf, the competitive edge and the sportsmanship from golfers who were all linked through disability made it a wonderful event, with a lot of humour as well and a lot of friendships made.
‘I was really disappointed to miss out from playing after having put so much effort into organising all the sponsorship and team details but I had been waiting for my surgery since last December and by August I was so uncomfortable that golf was proving an even bigger challenge than usual!
‘The Arran sponsors provided team tops and financial help getting the tops embroidered with the Phoenix Cup logo, as well as Arran Malt miniatures for all the players from both sides. With so much Arran support it was such a shame that there wasn’t an Arran captain or player present to promote the island on the day. All the players really appreciated the support and help received from Arran.
It was in November 2000 that John had his left leg above the knee amputated due to cancer and since then he has played in various disabled golf competitions which have been inspirational in showing me what can still be achieved despite a disability.
Last year he was selected to be the captain of the golf team for the SDGC for the Phoenix Cup competition The Phoenix Cup is played for most years to help showcase disabled golf, and John was vice captain two years ago when the Scottish team beat a team from British Inclusive Golf (BIG) at Murrayshall in Scone. Next year the SDGC will be joining other European golfers to play in the 25th Anniversary Phoenix Cup 2020 against the USA to be played Gleneagles PGA, Panmure, Blairgowrie and Carnoustie championship courses.
John Pennycott gets his hands on the trophy despite missing out on the tournament. NO_B44pennycott01