Medinah Country Club, plagued by course conditioning issues last month, received glowing reviews as next year’s site for the Ryder Cup matches. Top players from the U.S. and Europe will battle on the club’s No. 3 course next Sept. 25-30.
The club and PGA of America celebrated the one-year countdown to the next Ryder Cup this week, with the captains of both teams lauding Medinah.
“I can’t imagine a better place for this,” said Europe’s Jose Maria Olazabal. “The facilities are extraordinary, and the last four holes will be very interesting. It’s the perfect host venue.”
“An incredible place to have a tournament,” said Davis Love III, the U.S. captain. “You look at that golf course every day, and it looks like a major championship is ready to happen.”
Conditions on all three Medinah courses deteriorated with heavy rains and extreme heat in July and August, but they’ve improved dramatically in the last two weeks.
“We made it through,” said superintendent Curtis Tyrrell. “Now we’re in excellent shape, and we’re confident where we stand. We’ll be ready for next year.”
Super Seniors set to go
There’ll be only 30 players, just seven of them professionals, in Wednesday’s first Illinois Super Seniors Open at Pine Meadow in Mundelein, but at least it’s a start.
The brainchild of Pine Meadow head professional Dennis Johnsen, the tourney was created for pros and amateurs 65 and older. Oldest to enter was Bill Erfurth, 82, the former head pro at Skokie Country Club in Glencoe. He won the regular Illinois Open in 1975 and became the first player to shoot his age in that event when he was 73.
Now he has his sights set on being the first champion of the Super Seniors event, but he’ll have to beat similarly established players such as pros Gary Groh and Steve Dunning and amateurs Bill Shean, Joel Hirsch and John Seehausen to do it.
Randy Hundley, the former Cubs’ catcher, is also among the entries who will begin play at 8 a.m.
The entry count didn’t disappoint Johnsen, who hopes both the Chicago District Golf Assn. and Illinois PGA will embrace the event in 2012.
“I consider it a success, because I’ve been told the first (U.S.) Senior Open only had roughly 40 players,” said Johnsen. “There is already talk of a Super Seniors Tour for pros and amateurs in future years.”
Tense times at Eagle Ridge
The Illinois PGA’s player-of-the-year might be decided at the last of the section’s four major tourneys — the IPGA Players Championship — next Monday and Tuesday (Oct. 3-4) at Eagle Ridge in Galena.
Assistant pros Rich Dukelow of Cantigny and Brian Brown of Naperville are one-two in the point standings, but looming behind them are Ivanhoe Club’s Jim Sobb, who has won four major titles in either regular or senior section events this year; Twin Lakes’ Travis Johns, last year’s player-of-the-year; and Glen Oak’s Matt Slowinski, already the IPGA Assistants player-of-the-year and runner-up in the IPGA Championship.
A long shot is Curtis Malm, the former Illinois Open champion who is now an assistant at St. Charles. He’s in his first year of eligibility for the player-of-the-year award.
While the bulk of the remaining available player-of-the-year points will be awarded at Eagle Ridge, the winner won’t be announced until two one-day stroke plays are completed later in the month.
Kewanee’s Tom Miler won last week’s 25th Illinois Senior Amateur at Effingham Country Club, depriving runner-up Tom Studer of Joliet from becoming the first three-time winner of the event.
Studer won in 2007 and 2008. Taylorville’s Dave Ryan finished third to clinch the Chicago District Golf Assn. senior player-of-the-year award for the third straight year.
The Illinois Women’s Golf Assn. also staged its 42nd senior tournament, with Chicago’s Mary Kay Thanos-Zordani winning by five strokes over Char McLear of McHenry and defending champion Roberta Sentel of Marion at Oakwood Country Club in Coal Valley.
Did you know?
Jason Rasmussen won the IPGA Assistants Match Play title last week, meaning all three of the section’s match play trophies for 2011 are at the Ivanhoe Club. Head pro Jim Sobb won both the regular and senior title. … The CDGA concludes its tournament season on Thursday with the Prairie State Challenge at Midlothian Country Club. It matches the top seniors from the Chicago area against their counterparts from Central Illinois. Tom Miler and Dave Ryan will be heading the Central Illinois team. … The Weekly Challenge Tour concludes its season with its Tournament of Champions on Monday (Oct. 3) at Bull Valley in Woodstock. … Neighboring Cary courses Foxford Hills and Chalet Hills, rivals at the start of the season, are now both managed by GolfVisions. Foxford is owned by the Cary Park District while Chalet Hills went into foreclosure. GolfVisions plans to preserve its value in preparation an eventual sale.