THE HEMISPHERE CUP
When originally thought about some time late in the last century, the idea of a major golf tournament between the great hemispheres of our world seemed like a challenge too far. The organisational problems and logistics involved in such a tournament would surely be too great. It is therefore one of the great success stories of this century that not only did the event take place, but it is now approaching its eighteenth annual event.
The first event took place over
the championship links of Royal Lytham and St Annes
in August 2000. The South turned up with a strong team of highly focused
golfers. The North turned up. The South won with something to spare, though a
sporting event had arrived that was sure to become a regular part of the
sporting calendar with the prestige of the FA Cup Final or
In June 2001 the teams met once
again at the Machrie in
2003 was again a successful year for the Northern Hemisphere in sport, unfortunately it was not golf! As Martin Johnson carried of the William Webb Ellis cup to the North for the first time, its golfing counterpart was back firmly in the hands of the South. Another fine performance, that matched the weather at Turnberry, resulted in a comfortable win for the South..
Why, Why, Why, Delilah! The following year in a prelude to what would happen later that year in the Ryder Cup, the Northern Team recorded their largest victory at Tenby in Wales. The South never got started and despite going into the singles only one point down finished on the receiving end of a 10.5 to 5.5 drubbing.
In 2005 the match was held on the stunning golf links at Royal Dornoch. A very close match saw the North win by the narrowest margin possible. This was also the year of the famous ‘Brown Shirt Rebellion’ when the Southern team had a ceremonial handing back of their shirts in disgust. Ian was never to organise the shirts again, but he found solace in the comfort of a goat.
Saunton was the host the following year (2006) and the weather showed its teeth over the two days. Wind, wind and rain, then heavy wind and heavy rain marred what looked like a great venue but we can’t be sure as no one could lift their heads to look. The South dealt with the conditions (and the bar) far better than the North and came out easy winners.
2007 was the reverse of 2003 in sporting terms. The South ran off with the Rugby (How did England get to the final?), but the North edged the Hemisphere Cup at Ballyliffin in Ireland by the narrowest margin possible. Greg made history with a 10&8 victory over Dave.
The following year(2008) the match was held at Silloth in Cumbria. Where, I here you ask? Silloth, in Cumbria, an absolute hidden gem of a course that was a fantastic venue for the Hemisphere Cup. The weather treated us fine and after going into the singles level, the North ran out victors in the end.
After nine ‘home’ fixtures it was decided for the tenth Hemisphere Cup to have an away game in 2009. Pinnacle Point in South Africa was the chosen venue and ten players made the 12,000 mile round trip to contest the cup. The North won the cup and the Captains Cup was introduced to recognise the MVP of the match which Paul Marais won (though we have not yet had the cup back!).
The Machrihanish golf links on the Mull of Kintyre was the venue in 2010. A fantastic couple of days of great links golf in perfect weather saw the South win the cup for the first time in four years.
2011 saw our first non links course when Woodhall Spa was selected as the venue. The Southern team turned up with 5 players, whilst the North had 10 resulting in two players being lent to the South for each set of matches. Certain Northern players did not do the honourable thing and won for the South. The South won narrowly.
It was a dramatic turnaround in 2012 when the South came back from losing the opening Fourballs 3 to 1 to win comfortably in the heat of Wales at Royal St Davids. It was at the Championship Dinner that the mantle of Captain of the Southern team was handed over after 13 long years by David Whiteing due to his impending move back to Australia. I am sure we have not seen the last of this cup legend.
2013 saw the cup visit the Isle of Mann where the North won a very close contest in fine weather on a course set in a stunning location, but the situation was reversed at St Enodoc in 2014 when the South won by the narrowest of margins.
2015 and 2016 saw a continued trend with the narrowest of victories for the South at Cruden Bay and Aberdovey.
What does the future hold for the Hemisphere Cup? Whatever happens we can be sure that it will involve a little golf and a lot of drinking.