Fresh from almost holing out for birdie with a sublime chip on the final hole of his practice round at Superior Golf and Spa Resort in Kharkov today (Tuesday), Shevchenko was whisked off to Kiev to witness the crunch World Cup Qualification tie between Ukraine and England at the Olympic Stadium tonight.
The former AC Milan and Chelsea striker, who won the Ballon d’Or in 2004 as the European Player of the Year, was feeling confident ahead of Ukraine’s crucial match against Roy Hodgson’s side, especially after his former team-mates recorded a comprehensive 9-0 victory over San Marino on Friday evening.
“I am going to Kiev tonight before coming back to Kharkov after the match,” said Shevchenko, who plays off a handicap of two. “Of course I fancy Ukraine but I think it will be a very close game because both teams need to win, but we are playing at home.
“Coming from the massive victory last week and the many wins they have had recently, it’s a big chance for us and I think we have a little bit more chance this time around than England.
“I have played with all of these guys and it is a very good young generation. When I started we had a good young generation and now it’s probably one of the best teams we have had. Players like Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, the captain, are really strong and we have a good strong team.”
“The people in Ukraine will be so happy if they beat England because they love football, it’s a very special game for them.”
Shevchenko has played in numerous Pro-Am events since his career-change to the game of golf but knows that he faces a massive task at the Kharkov Superior Cup as he battles it out with some of the world’s top up and coming players, as well as some experienced old heads such as former Ryder Cup star Oliver Wilson and three-time European Tour winner Nick Dougherty.
“This is the first big event for me and of course it is the first event here in Ukraine so it’s a huge event for golf in this country,” he said.
“The course is quite difficult. I'm happy with my game at the moment and I'm really happy to be here. I know the President of the club, he is my good friend and his daughter has been caddying for me. He invited me to come and I had to.
“I know this course for my years, since it first opened, and I love it here. It’s nice the Challenge Tour have decided to come here. It’s great for us.
“I have played with many good players in Pro-Ams but it’s different here. I'm looking forward to it and hope I play well but it’s my first event and I just want to have a good time and enjoy the week.”