The Royal Colombo Golf Club will host the 118th Burdett Trophy 2021 and the 33rd Puffin Cup 2021 at its picturesque and finely manicured and curated golf course on Saturday January 15.
The Burdett Trophy competition is a traditional golfing tournament played between two prestigious golfing clubs, the Royal Colombo Golf Club (RCGC) established in 1859, and the Nuwara Eliya Golf Club (NEGC) established in 1889 in this island paradise, the jewel of the Indian ocean Sri Lanka, inaugurated as far back as in 1902, is steeped in history and is perhaps known to be the world’s oldest golfing event between two teams of golfing clubs.
Since its inauguration the Burdette Trophy has not been conducted for 11 years, the last being in 2020 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
This trophy was inaugurated 25 years before the commencement of the world’s second oldest golfing team event, the Ryder Cup, which inaugurated as far back as in 1927 between The United States of America and Europe and was presented by Sir Francis Burdett who belonged to the 17th Lancers “the death or glory boys” who took part in the South African War and was then the Assistant Deputy Commissioner to the Governor of Ceylon Sir West Ridgeway.
The inaugural Burdett Trophy was played on the 26 and 27 December 1902 at Nuwara Eliya and was won by the NEGC, and since then has been played alternately in Colombo and Nuwara Eliya to date.
At the 118th Burdette Trophy the Royal Colombo Golf Club team will be captained by Sri Lankan Airlines Captain, the charismatic RCGC’s club captainof 2021 Navin De Silva, whilst the Nuwara Eliya Golf Club team will be captained by NEGC’s club captain G. K. Sudath Kumara.
Traditionally the Burdette team is captained by the current club captain.
However, this year the current RCGC captain Jehaan Ismail has graciously bestowed this honour on the previous year’s RCGC captain
Navin De Silva acknowledging and reciprocating his remarkable leadership of successfully steering the club through very trying times of the pandemic in 2021.
Both clubs’ teams while consisting of a maximum of 12 of their best golfing members will play against each other in a tournament format that will consist of 4 foursomes matches and 8 singles matches played during the morning and afternoon sessions respectively, where the winning team will be decided by the team who achieves a minimum of 6.5 points.
To date the RCGC boasts of 68 wins against NEGC’s 32 wins whilst this trophy has been halved 6 times.
The Puffin Cup with the words “Keep your head down – Don’t press” engraved on it was introduced and inaugurated in 1936 and was presented by C. M. Puffin Lushington alongside the Burdette Trophy tournament, opening the doors to the colourful and vibrant lady golfers of these two prestigious clubs to compete against each other.
The Puffin Cup was and since has become the leading ladies championship golf team event over the past 85 years and is now in its 86th year. Records indicate that the Puffin Cup has not been played for 15 years, wins/losses are not recorded for 38 years, and has been halved twice. The RCGC ladies admirably boast of 16 wins to NEGC ladies 14 wins to date. This year at the Puffin Cup the RCGC will be captained by the RCGC Lady Club Captain Anouk Chitty whilst the NEGC will be captained by NEGC Lady Club Captain Ahalya Rajan.
The Puffin Cup will be worked off as 4 foursome matches, and 4 singles matches where a minimum of 4.5 points achieved by the first team will decide the winner.
Concurrently with the Burdett Trophy and Puffin Cup tournaments there will be two other tournaments that will be worked off. These two tournaments will be the 125th Anniversary Championship tournament which was inaugurated in the 125th Anniversary year of the Royal Colombo Golf Club, and the Masters Tournament.
This year we will see the captain of the RCGC Ismail captaining the RCGC team in the 125th Anniversary Tournament whilst the NEGC team will be captained by Rohith Fonseka. The Masters event captains for the RCGC and NEGC will be Saliya Senanayake and B. M. R. Preena respectively.
The Burdett Trophy being an event of rich tradition and formalities, teams will be announced during the traditional wine and cheese evening function held on the day before the tournament day for all participants, and the match draw will be held on the following morning at the first tee by the two team captains as they exchange their team cards.
The RCGC has made all necessary arrangements to host this prestigious event in a grand scale which does promise to be a very exciting and a closely matched tournament culminating with an awards ceremony followed by cocktails and a gala dinner on the eve of the 15th at the RCGC’s clubhouse.