Devon-based PGA Professional Albert MacKenzie will realise a lifelong ambition after being unveiled as PGA Cup vice-captain.
The Scot will be part of Jon Bevan’s backroom team helping the Great Britain & Ireland PGA Cup team try and regain the Llandudno Trophy from the United States next September (18-20) at CordeValle, California.
MacKenzie, the head pro at Saunton, retains a burning desire to represent GB&I having missed out on a place in the 2005 PGA Cup team as he lost in a play-off at Woodhall Spa.
“I’m not normally stuck for words but when Jon phoned me I was over the moon because the PGA Cup means such a lot to me,” said the 53 year old who finished runner up in the 2014 Senior PGA Professional Championship.
“Although I have not played in the PGA Cup, I feel it is in my DNA for very many reasons. I’ve played in 20 PGA Professional Championships since Prince’s in 1989 trying to make the team but never quite made it.
“I came closest in 2005 when I lost in a four-man play-off at Woodhall Spa so to be asked to be vice-captain has ticked that box for me, it is an honour and a privilege.
“Over the years there have been two guys I’ve really admired – Russell Weir and Paul Wesselingh and Jon Bevan is cut from the same cloth as those two. He is a winner and I’m sure he is going to be a wonderful captain.”
With GB&I never having won on US soil, Bevan is determined to give his side the best possible chance of success and sees MacKenzie as having a vital role to play.
“Albert is somebody I look up to – I respect him as a player and as a club professional as well,” said Bevan.
“He’s been a long time in the game, is well known in the game, has massive experience and has been close to making the PGA Cup team himself on a couple of occasions.
“Albert has been very pro-active already in making sure we have everything covered and is the perfect foil for me. He is very determined, forthright and single-minded. He is an eyes on the prize sort of guy which is what I want and he is brutally honest – he will tell me if I’m doing something right or wrong and he has my total respect and trust.
“I’m delighted Albert will be a key part of my backroom staff, he is as passionate and excited as me about the challenge of trying to win the PGA Cup for GB&I.”
PGA chief executive Sandy Jones added: “Albert without doubt will be a great asset to our captain Jon Bevan and the 2015 PGA cup team.
“His passion and enthusiasm for the PGA Cup match is something I have admired over many years and I am delighted that Jon has invited him to be vice-captain next year at CordeValle.”
Bevan has already seen the first three places of his 10-man team decided with Niall Kearney (Royal Dublin), Jason Levermore (Channels) and David Dixon (Enmore Park) having qualified via the recent Titleist PGA Play-Offs.
The remaining seven places will be decided at next year’s PGA Professional Championship with Bevan having one captain’s pick.
The PGA Cup is a Ryder Cup-style contest played over three days with foursomes, fourballs and singles. Bevan was vice-captain at the dramatic match at Slaley Hall when GB&I swept the singles 7.5-2.5 to tie the US 13-13 although America retained the trophy as holders.