Edwards returns after midweek visit with ill father

Nigel Edwards, left, returned to National Golf Links on Thursday.

Nigel Edwards, left, returned to National Golf Links on Thursday.

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SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Late Thursday afternoon, Nigel Edwards rode a roofless golf cart to the base of National Golf Links’ landmark windmill and greeted Max Orrin, the last Great Britain & Ireland player left on the course. Orrin gave his captain a handshake and a hug, handed him a wedge so that he could hit a few chips, then proceeded to chip around the 16th green as Edwards watched.

Each GB&I player who saw Edwards make his return Thursday greeted him with similar gusto. Edwards had been uncertain whether he would captain the squad earlier this week as his father battled heart failure and kidney trouble back home in Wales.

Edwards returned to the United Kingdom early in the week to see his father, who is now stable. Edwards said a consultant at a hospital in Cardiff was pleased with his father’s condition and gave the blessing Wednesday for Edwards to return to the U.S.

“Our friends have been there today, and he’s up in bed watching James Bond,” Edwards said.

While Edwards was away, Jonathan Plaxton, chairman of the GB&I selectors, was left in charge. Edwards said the team didn’t miss a beat.

“I knew they’d be fine. They’re good lads, and they’d be very professional about preparing,” Edwards said. “I had a chat with a couple of the senior players. . . . They’ll get on with it.

“The golf course is here, and they know that they've got to focus on the short game; because at the end of the day this week will be won with a putter.”

That doesn’t mean the players didn’t venture away a few times, but that was mostly early in the week. On this week’s New York agenda for GB&I: rounds at Pine Valley Golf Club and Bayonne, a boat ride beneath the Statue of Liberty and a tour of the Empire State Building. (Read all about GB&I's tour of New York City here.)

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