Junior Ryder Cup Notebook: Olympia Fields hosts yet another big event

By
Randy Stutzman
The PGA of America

Series: PGA Feature

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. -- The Junior Ryder Cup, an international match-play competition featuring 12 junior golfers from the United States hosting their European counterparts, gets underway at Olympia Fields Country Club on Monday, Sept. 24.

The Junior Ryder Cup follows an honored list of premier golf events at renowned Olympia Fields. ThecClub, which opened its doors in 1915, has hosted two PGA Championships, two U.S. Open Championships and the 1997 U.S. Senior Open.

JUNIOR RYDER CUP

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In addition, Olympia Fields was the site of the 2011 U.S. Girls' Junior Championship and conducts the Olympia Fields/Illini Invitational, each year. In 2015, the club will host the U.S. Amateur Championship.

The par-71 South Course will play 7,090 yards for the boys and 6,295 yards for the girls.

WILY VETS: Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif., and Jim Liu of Smithtown, N.Y., are the only participants in the 2012 Junior Ryder Cup field to have competed in a previous Junior Ryder Cup.

Lee and Liu were members of the 2010 United States Team, which defeated Europe, 13 1/2 to 10 1/2, at Gleneagles Resort in Scotland.

All members of the European team will be making their debut in the Junior Ryder Cup.

In addition, Rory McIlory of Northern Ireland and Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium are the only players who competing in the 39th Ryder Cup that also competed in a Junior Ryder Cup. McIlroy competed in 2004, while Colsaerts played in 1999.

ALL TIED UP: The overall Junior Ryder Cup series is tied 3-3-1. After an exhibition match in 1995, with Central New York PGA Section-area juniors competing against 12 leading European junior players, the inaugural Junior Ryder Cup was contested in Sotogrande, Spain. The United States won, 7-5.

In 1999, Europe returned to face the U.S. juniors, and dominated at the Country Club of New Seabury in the Boston area by a 10 1/2-to-1 1/2 margin. This marked the first of three-straight Junior Ryder Cup victories for the Europeans.

In 2006, however, the United States team was able to halve the Junior Ryder Cup, 6-6, at Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales.

In 2010, the United States Junior Ryder Cup team won its second consecutive trophy, following a 22-2 domination in 2008 at The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, Ky.

"FRIENDSHIP" MATCH JUST AROUND THE CORNER: Participants in the 2012 Junior Ryder Cup also will play a "Friendship" Match on Sept. 26, at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club, site of the 39th Ryder Cup.

The "Friendship" Match will feature a combined mixed four-ball, with six groupings of four players that includes one girl and one boy from both Europe and the United States. The teams will play a composite course of 10 total holes, blending both front-nine and back-nine holes. Play will begin on the first hole of Course No. 3, with tee times set for 2:00, 2:11, 2:22, 2:33, 2:44 and 2:55 p.m., with pairings to be determined later.

LET’S GET IT STARTED: Play in the Junior Ryder Cup begins on Monday at 7:00 a.m. CT. The morning foursomes pairings will be released during the Opening Ceremonies on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 5:00 p.m.