Medinah gears up for Ryder Cup
As the Year to Go celebrations unfolded, Davis Love III and José Maria Olazábal turned their attention to Medinah and the drama that could unfold in a year's time
A year to go and Medinah Country Club has already impressed the two men who will captain Europe and the United States in The Ryder Cup next September.
José Maria Olazábal and Davis Love III, who will lead their teams in 12 months’ time, met in Chicago as the countdown for The 2012 Ryder Cup began in earnest. And although the weather conspired against them and denied them the chance to play the famous course, talk is already on how it might set up and particularly the impact the revamped 15th could have on the matches.
“I cannot imagine a better host for this event,” enthused Olazábal. “The clubhouse is just amazing. But also, the golf course. It's a traditional tree lined course and I think with the changes that have been done to the 15th hole, I think those last four holes are going to be very exciting for the matches in a year to come.”
Love III was equally impressed with what Medinah has to offer. “It has an incredible history of hosting Major Championships and it's a golf course that you look out there every day, it looks like a Major Championship is getting ready to happen. It just has that look to it.
“So a great golf course and a great facility for the biggest golf event in the world, and I think golf fans that come here are going to see one of the greatest golf events ever. This is just an incredible place to have a tournament.”
The par four 15th is already a talking point with the changes made since the 2006 US PGA Championship offering a risk/reward shot at what could be a crucial time in a match.
“We didn't get to play [the 15th] but it looks like an exciting hole, and it looked long today,” said Love III. “But 280, certainly is reachable, and I think it will make for some exciting decisions. We have to decide where we want to put the tee and how we want to play it.
“It will be very exciting coming down those last few holes because you've got some risk/reward and you have the 16th hole can play over 500 yards now. Obviously 17 and 18 have been the scene of a lot of dramatic shots and putts in major championships.”
As the home Captain Love III will have plenty of day in how the course is set up, and if he has his way we can expect plenty of birdies. “With a tree lined, major championship style of golf course, I don't think you have to do too much to this golf course. Firm and fast greens makes the case for itself.
“So I don't know if there's a way for it to be an advantage one way or another. We are both going to have super talented, long hitting teams that make a lot of birdies. It's more, I think, what's the most exciting thing to watch, and to me, that's making birdies rather than putting for pars. And you know, if I was setting up the PGA TOUR courses, I set them up I would lean more towards birdies than putting for pars. That's kind of how I would lean; more the way the PGA Championship is set up rather than super tough and impossible.”
Following Monday’s press conference, the captains had a busy day ahead. They were moving on to visit the Trump Tower in downtown Chicago, then on to Cellular One Field to through out the first pitch at the Chicago White Sox game before ending the evening with a fireside chat at the Chicago Theater.
“I think reality hits you when you walk in this clubhouse; that it's serious, that it's really going to happen in a year,” Love concluded. “We'd better be prepared for it. We'd better get our teams ready, and you know, the next big event here is going to have a lot of people watching everything that we're doing.
“Yeah, reality is certainly setting in. The questions I get around the golf world just day in and day out tells me how important this event is to the golf fans and to the golf world, and days like today, where decisions that we have to make, really make it sink in, that it's coming a lot faster than we thought,” he added. “We thought two years was going to take forever, and it's flying by.”