Events like the Simpson Cup simply wouldn't be possible without the generous support of our donors, and Monday at Maidstone allowed everyone to put a face to a name in the traditional Player/Sponsor Golf Day. Maidstone and its members have already offered up tremendous donations to the On Course Foundation charity - of which all Simpson Cup players are members. However, among the field of players were also some long-time sponsors from both sides of the pond, who continue to show such great support.
Breezy conditions made an already-challenging golf course all the more difficult, but, despite the wind, there was plenty of excellent golf - and a lot of smiles - on display. Each group of four played their own ball, adopting the Callaway scoring system. Prizes were separated into a gross and nett section, and there were some impressive results recorded in each category.
As if to typify how evenly matched the two countries are, the group who took the spoils in the gross section, with a fine score of 68, included Alex Hiles and Simon Bankes from Team GB, and local boy Alex Happer and coach Chris Jones from Team USA. Meanwhile, in the nett category, it was Team USA's Jacque Keeslar who led the way in a fourball that recorded an adjusted score of 70.
Enjoyment and camaraderie are the name of the game in the Player/Sponsor Day, although the event carries extra significance, as it also commemorates the life of Dave Bagby, who sadly passed away in 2016. Bagby competed in the 2015 Simpson Cup at Royal St George's for Team USA, and had a profound impact on his peers, the Simpson Cup and the On Course Foundation as a whole.
Tuesday fourball pairings revealed
A prize giving and lunch rounded off a memorable day for all involved in the Player/Sponsor Day, but for the players, the serious business of the Simpson Cup gets under way in earnest on Tuesday with six fourball matches (commencing at 10am ET).
After lengthy team meetings, captains Chad Pfeifer (Team USA) and Mike Browne (Team GB) emerged to reveal their pairings, and, as expected, they've served up some tasty matches. Look no further than the leading group for some swashbuckling golf, as captain Pfeifer teams up with Chris Bowers - an unbeaten pairing, with the latter being one of just three Simpson Cup ever presents since 2012. One of the other two, Ian Bishop, will line up against the duo in the company of the in-form Hiles. However, there is strength and depth everywhere you look.
A good start is essential for the Brits, who will feel an urgent need to exorcise the ghosts of Royal Birkdale 2017 where they slumped to a 0-6 deficit on the opening day. Indeed, you would have to go back to the inaugural event at TPC Sawgrass in 2012 for the last GB victory in the fourball matches, so a strong Tuesday performance will be the order of the day if they are to regain the trophy on foreign soil.
The Americans' strong track record in the fourball format, and a considerable talent pool within their ranks, will justifiably leave them feeling confident. But with some rain set to make an appearance, predicting tomorrow's outcome is mere guess-work. The quality of golf has been exceptional so far; the golf course truly breathtaking, and both sides have the bit between their teeth. What a spectacle we're in for tomorrow.
You can view tomorrow's pairings, and keep track of the live scoring on Tuesday and Wednesday, by clicking here. Additionally, the Team GB and Team USA twitter accounts, along with our Instagram account, will bring it all to your screen, as it happens. Stay tuned folks - it's game time!