ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (ABC4 Sports) – The Friendship Cup started a few years ago, when a group led by former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt and his brother Mark invited a group of Scottish golfers to come to Utah to play a few rounds.
Former Governor Gary Herbert was a part of that first event.
“I was governor at the time, and had the opportunity to host them at the Salt Lake Country Club when they came the first time in 2019,” Herbert said. “The intent was to go back in 2020 but a funny thing happened on the way to the golf course. COVID-19 and the pandemic, so it’s taken until 2022 to have the return event.”
This past weekend Herbert and several other Utah golfers, including Jazz broadcaster Ron Boone got to play at the world famous St. Andrew’s Golf Club and Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland, where the game was invented.
“I think one of the key attributes the game has is the friendship element,” said Max Baillie, Captain of the Crail Golfing Society in Scotland. “I think this tournament really embodies it.”
“For them to come over here and offer our hospitality and friendship for what they’ve offered us over the time of the Friendship Cup,” said Scottie golfer Brian McSkimming.
The golf was spectacular, even when it took a long time to play.
“They’ve come a long way to enjoy their golf and sometimes it’s a trip of a lifetime,” added Scottish golfer Ron Stewart. “We understand sometimes taking five hours for a round, they’re quite happy with it.”
“It’s great to let them see my place, if you like, my backyard that I’m proud of,” added McSkimming. “I know they’re very proud of Sand Hollow and what they’ve given to us when we’ve been there.”
“It was a fun event,” said Boone, an avid golfer himself. “We played a ton of great golf courses here in Scotland. The museum where golf started, just made the trip totally fun.”
“Even though there’s a great distance that separates us, we’re held together by the love of human kind,” Herbert said. “We want to make things better for their families and they want to make things better for our families.”