THE Solheim Cup has headed back over the Atlantic in American hands after their stunning singles fightback to defeat Europe in Germany.
Catterick GC’s Tony Boyd hopes to help redress the matter at Royal St George’s, in Kent, on Tuesday and Wednesday by returning the Simpson Cup to British hands.
The annual golf competition runs along similar lines to the Ryder and Solheim Cups, pitting 13 injured British Servicemen and veterans against a team of American counterparts.
Now in its fourth edition since the inaugural event at TPC Sawgrass in 2012, the tournament aims to raise funds and awareness for the On Course Foundation, a charitable organisation which is registered in both the UK and the USA.
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 the opportunity to play the game and attaining employment in the golf industry.
Fifty-four-year-old Boyd, who was a member of the Parachute Regiment and also the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, had his right leg amputated in 2012 following a climbing accident in Kenya 16 years earlier.
“I had a broken back and two broken legs from the initial injury when I had a climbing accident in Kenya,” said Boyd. “I was teaching adventure training; it was a pure accident.
“Something you do every day just went totally wrong so I had a fall of 180ft and I was hospitalised for 14 days and then flown back to the UK.”
Boyd, who plays off 21, admits he is as excited as a child before Christmas as he awaits the start of the Simpson Cup, which will involve six fourball betterball matches on Tuesday followed by 12 singles matches on Wednesday.
“I have been so excited, I’ve been like a big kid,” he said. “I’m just really excited to play, I can’t wait.
“I have done sport at a high level before, I’m an ex-member of the British bobsleigh team.
“The excitement and standing on the tee – I still get the buzz. If I didn’t get that I wouldn’t do it because that is what it’s all about in sport.
“If you enjoy it and get the buzz it is well worth doing.”
Each playing captain had six picks and six qualifiers, Boyd coming in the latter category after an event at the London Club’s Heritage Course last month.
Originally from Peterlee, near Sunderland, he and his family settled in Catterick 14 years ago after the itinerant life of a serviceman had seen him on duty in, among other places, Bosnia and Northern Ireland.
He left the forces for a while to become a teacher, working in a prison at Northallerton, but subsequently returned to the army in an educational role.
“I’m working with soldiers who are injured – all sorts of injuries, so it could be physical, it could be mental health,” he said.
“If they fall behind their peers during the time that they are sick, I catch them up on qualifications in maths and English.”
The Simpson Cup is the marquee event for the On Course Foundation and, following its inception at Sawgrass, was staged at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2013 and Congressional Country Club, in Maryland, last year.
Team USA are the defending champions at Royal St George’s, winning at Congressional after Britain had won the previous two events.
The tournament is named after its founder, John Simpson, former Senior Vice President of International Management Group.
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.
Royal St George’s, which has hosted the Open Championship on 14 occasions, is his home club.
He said: “Each year we’ve seen the most moving and inspiring stories emerge. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what the class of 2015 has in store for us, and it will be a privilege to see these heroes putting on another terrific spectacle at a course I hold so close to my heart.”
For more information on the On Course Foundation click HERE