Wednesday, September 28, 2016
People sometimes say, ReGripped what is your favorite golf event? Its probably the Masters given that you blog about it like a crazy person every year. Or maybe its the British Open because you love links golf and are a sucker for English accents? Or even it might be the Farmer's Insurance Open at Torrey Pines because you love the views and the history of that course so much?
To those people I would say "yea but" to every option because my golfing Christmas, Fourth of July and Birthday all rolled up into one is the Ryder Cup. I have never been to a Ryder Cup but every two years I wish the ticket lottery would come up ReGripped.
The passion, the history, the team aspect of the Cup. Heck even the crazy fashions, I love it all! Some of my most prized possessions are Ryder Cup schwag that my dad bought for me back in the day, including my Oak Hill driver headcover, still holding up!
So OF COURSE, I am stoked about this year's contest at Hazeltine in Minnesota. Here is just a quick preview on how I think everything is going to go down this weekend.
1) The Course:
Hazeltine has a deep golf pedigree having hosted 2 US Opens and 2 PGA Championships but they aren't stuck in the past and are rather unique in their willingness to change the course over the years to make it even better. Changing par 3s into par 4s, redoing the bunkering, etc., Hazeltine keeps it fresh and keeps it interesting. Check out this link for all the changes done for this Cup.
Now one of the reasons the US is said to be favored in this Cup is the length of HNCC. The course can be set up for a wopping 7,628 yards with three par 5s over 600 yards! This is significantly longer than Gleneagles which came in at 6,815 and would tend to favor the long hitters of the US in Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler. However, don't count out Europe in the distance category as currently Rory is 10th on Tour in driving distance, Justin Rose is a surprising 12th and Sergio is hanging around in 28th. I think the margins are a lot closer than people are giving the US credit for but in terms of the course Slight Edge to the US.
2) Team USA:
For all the talk about the task force and shaking things up for this Team USA, Davis Love has captained this rodeo before and his picks of Kuchar, Holmes and Fowler were not unexpected. Holmes was on the last winning Ryder Cup and has crazy length. Kuchar has had a super solid season and Fowler, well has had a terrible season but rankings-wise a top golfer and a long driver so yea Davis went with him.
His best pick however is who is saved for last Ryan Moore. Not only has RM been a solid golfer for some time now but he is getting hot at the right time, exactly why the US holds the last pick until after the conclusion of the FedEx madness. That being said, I think the Euros were right to criticize the US selection process. Just pick the guys, no need to do it on primetime at a football game 5 days before the start of play. Still, Moore is the right pick and may end up being the difference in this Cup.
The rest of the team that made it on points are all solid players with DJ being the real standout this season. He is playing lights out and could potentially carry this team on his back alone. Spieth had a good but not great season and the same holds true for Zach, Lefty, Reed and the rest. This solidness is actually the US' greatest strength, they have a solid lineup up and down the roster and I think Europe would have a hard time finding weaknesses in the squad with the exception of Fowler. Roster = Solid.
3) Team Europe:
Europe just gets it done doesn't it? On paper for any given Cup you could say, well their top 5 guys are awesome but the rest, who the heck are they? Over the last few years I have found myself following the European Tour much more closely and have found myself appreciating the talent of these guys that you rarely hear of.
Rory, Stenson, Justin Rose and Danny Willet all had monster years which gives you another solid top of the team. However they also have guys in top form in Pieters, Matthew Fitzpatrick is a young gun who all he does is win or get top 10s and you have guys like Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan who you might not be familiar with but these guys are legit!
There is also something mysterious about Europe's team chemistry; they seem to have it and the US seems to lack it for some reason. Roster = Sneaky Good.
So how do I think it will all play out? In previous years before Europe's run of dominance, the US would get its lunch eaten by Europe on Friday and Saturday in the team competitions and then turn it on for Singles Sunday and win. I have a suspicion that is how this Cup will go. The Europeans work too well together not to be favored in the four balls and foursomes. However I think the US is too talented not to win heavily in the Sunday individual matches and probably squeaks out a win coming from behind.
USA Wins In A Nail-biter
* Photographs are owned by Getty Images and are used herein for news and commentary purposes only.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Despite this individualistic streak, golf has a tremendous capacity for collective good with the many charitable endeavors the sport is involved in. The PGA Tour gives away millions of dollars from its tournaments. There are charity events at golf courses every week that raise money for worthy causes.
Today I wanted to spotlight a charity that blends together golf and a worthy cause, providing disadvantaged youths with access to golf courses, teachers and range time.
Golf is super expensive and if you are a poor kid or someone without access to the elite, exclusive world of golf, trying to play a game that you love can be super tough. Fairways tries to bridge the gap by offering sponsorship opportunities so you can sponsor a young golfer in affording those expensive greens fees or lessons.
This inspiring charity inspired me to sponsor a young golfer and I hope you do the same!
For more information about Fairways, please check out their website: http://fairways.golf/
*all logos and photos are owned by Fairways
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
This is one of several posts about my attempts to play the ultimate course, the Cypress Point Club. If you have any tips for me or want to invite me to play (!!!) please email me at email@example.com I promise total discretion for anyone who helps. Thanks!
As you will see from the Day counter above, it has been over year since I officially announced my quest to play Cypress Point Club and more than 400 days later, the quest continues. I have learned a lot over the last year. Tips and Tricks from John Sabino's great book. Drink recipes have been tried. Of course, the big break has been through Golf Digest's coverage of my quest.
I have spoken with 2 people that have had direct access to the course in the past and reached out directly to 1 member. Still, here it is that I sit but I am not sitting idle and here is my strategy for the next year:
1) Continue to play Top 100 Courses.
I recently was fortunate enough to play Sand Hills and Ballyneal and while there, I ran into people from Pine Valley, The Quarry at La Quinta, people with Augusta swag on their bags and of course, Sand Hills members. If you want to play an elite golf course, you need to put yourself in elite company and I plan on playing more of these Top 100 courses in order to broaden my pool of potential members.
2) Start To Get Up Close And Personal With San Francisco.
So many books that I have read about Cypress have mentioned that members of Cypress are also members of clubs like San Francisco, Cal Club and Olympic. In addition to wanting to play these clubs just for the pure enjoyment factor of playing Top 100 courses, if I spend some time in the Bay Area, I might find myself spending some time in the Cypress Point Area.
3) Continue Positive Thoughts.
Have you ever thought of someone and then the phone rings and its that person? Have you ever thought that something negative was going to happen and then, inevitably, it does? Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, suggests focusing what your mind wants in order to help actualize it. I am a believer in putting positive energy out there and then seeing positive results. What Scott suggests and I have been doing is writing every day that I desire to play Cypress Point.
Yes, I realize that the above looks like an outtake from The Shining but I think the benefit of this is every day I take a moment to remember that I am on a quest to play this amazing course and that I should continue working toward my goal.
Cool Cypress Point Story:
Did you know that a ship wrecked right off the coast of Cypress Point back in 1934 and that members of the club helped rescue the sailors on board? Pierce McDonnell is writing a book about the whole affair and I can't wait to read it. Not only is the course beautiful but the members are good eggs as well! Pierce was kind enough to share a photo taken on that day:
The book has been published and I highly recommend you checking it out. Here is a link to Amazon:
Cypress Point Review:
I love this write-up I found on the web the other day. Hopefully you get a kick out of it too!
Monday, September 12, 2016
Twitter is a great way of communicating and often people use hashtags to reach a particular group on Twitter. A whole community has spring up out of #GolfChat and they have authors contribute to monthly topics. This month is all about pace of play in golf and you can read my contribution to it by following the link below!
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Ranked Top 20 in the world. #2 on my Golf Bucket List. Crazy hard to get to and even harder to play, I feel extremely lucky today to be able to tell you all about my trip to Sand Hills Golf Club. Check out all the hijinks on my Coore Crenshaw Quest website!