Editor's Note: Scott Erdmann, 34, of Tigard, Ore., is writing a blog of his week at the 25th PGA Cup, his first appearance in the premier international event for PGA club professionals. Erdmann, who tied for second in the 2011 PGA Professional National Championship, is a native of Christchurch, New Zealand, and holds dual citizenship since arriving in the United States at age 2. He did not begin to play golf in earnest until age 20, and turned professional in 1997. He earned PGA of America membership in 2005, and is a PGA assistant professional at Oswego Lake Country Club in Lake Oswego, Ore.
By Scott Erdmann
It was a quicker flight for me Monday than anyone else on the team. Waking up was no issue at all, no worry about any jet lag. My first impression is that this is a fantastic place to be. The hospitality is over the top.
My first impression of playing the course is that it is very fair and the fairway landing area is generous off the tee. The greens are very receptive, not super hard. It’s really is not that much difference in grasses and conditions that what I see in Oregon.
This is going to be a fun week. I love team golf. I was able to play three times on the Hudson Cup in the Pacific Northwest PGA Section, (2007, ’08 and ’10). The Cup is named after the man Robert Hudson, the Oregon fruit grower who financed the Great Britain Ryder Cup Team in 1947 and truly saved the Ryder Cup. The Hudson Cup began in 1999, matching the top 10 Pacific Northwest PGA Professionals against the top 10 area amateurs. I am proud to say that every year I competed, we won.
Believe me, when you are on a team, no matter what competition, you understand the pressure to retain the cup or trophy. This week, I welcome that same team aspect, and know that we are all playing hard to keep the PGA Cup in the United States.
One of the special things for me this week was sharing something with my teammates from a friend at home. My caddie at the PGA Championship, Mike MacKennon, is a great friend, a club member and owns MacKennon Golf Bag Company in Lake Oswego, Ore. He did a very generous thing. He gave me personalized leather club covers to pass out to all my teammates this week.
The members at my club were supportive of me when I played in the PGA Championship last August. They do not know much about the PGA Cup, but they do recognize how important it is when you are representing your country in any competition.
This week, I have a few members who will be making the trip down to watch the PGA Cup, and will have an uncle and a cousin in the gallery.
Danny Balin (of Greenwich, Conn.) and I teamed this morning, and we continued to practice playing nine holes of four-balls and nine holes of foursomes (alternate shot). Danny is a great player and hits it long. I think we hit it off well.
The Welcome Dinner was a lot of fun, and what a great setting at Clos LaChance overlooking the vineyard the No. 6 hole in the valley. The Llandudno Trophy was there, resting on a stand on the large patio.
Sitting at dinner made you feel very special.
We lined up this morning for team photos, and a marine layer (fog) was just beginning to leave the hills behind us.
We continued our planned practices, and Danny Balin and I teamed up for the second straight day, playing the front nine in four-balls and the back nine in foursomes. Our games are comparable, and I think that we match up pretty well. Adapting to your teammates and their style of play is so important. I think that the team has gotten pretty used to each other and are able to play together easily. I didn’t know anyone, other than seeing them at the National Championship last June in Hershey, Pa.
The focus is very simple, and sounds very trite. It is just “fairways and greens.” You got to focus on giving your team two chances in best-ball (four-balls) on each hole. The course is in tremendous shape and the greens are tremendously receptive, and the grasses not that different from what I am used to.
I have to compliment course designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. on his work. He gave us a lot of great targets. There is a similar feel on putting here as there was in Hershey, but you do not have the false fronts to deal with.
Tonight, we joined the Great Britain & Ireland Official Party and Team in buses to dine at Campo di Bocce in Los Gatos, Calif. We enjoyed great Italian food and get to learn what it is for a different moment in teamwork this week – playing the ancient sport of Bocce Ball.
All six-member teams were selected during a random draw when you entered the restaurant. The restaurant is a membership-oriented Bocce club that is open to the public. There were eight Bocce courts, and after a little trial and error, I think everyone got an idea how to play a bit better during each round in the “lanes.”
Tomorrow, we put on the suit and tie, wear the pin, march into the Opening Ceremonies and the flags are raised. That’s when it gets real.
PGA Cup: Debut
Residence: Tigard, Ore.
Birth Date: March 23, 1977
Birthplace: Christchurch, New Zealand
College: Professional Golfers Career College, Temecula, Calif.
Home Club/Affiliation: Oswego Lake Country Club, Lake Oswego, Ore.
PGA Classification: A-8
Turned Professional: 1997
PGA Membership: 2005
PGA Section: Pacific Northwest
Player Notes: PGA assistant professional at Oswego Lake Country Club in Lake Oswego, Ore. . . Finished tied for second in the 2011 PGA Professional National Championship, his debut in the National Championship. . . Lost playoff to David Hutsell of Baltimore, Md., in a three-way playoff with Faber Jamerson of Appomattox, Va., June 29, at Hershey (Pa.) Country Club. . .Winner, 2009 Pacific Northwest Assistants Championship, 2005 Oregon Assistants Championship. . .Runner-up, 2010 Pacific Northwest PGA Championship, 2009 Section Assistant Championship, 2009 Section Assistant Professional Player of the Year. . .Carries dual citizenship in New Zealand and the United States. . .Arrived in the United States when he was 2 years old.
Personal: Wife, Ionella (“Yo-nella”); Children: Zachary, Jacob
Hobbies/Special Interests: Snow skiing, fishing