By Bob Denney, The PGA of America
SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III called the American PGA Cup Team room Thursday afternoon prior to the Opening Ceremonies to wish the team well in its preparing for Friday’s opening of the 25th PGA Cup. Love served as an assistant captain during the 2010 Ryder Cup in Newport, Wales, and greeted PGA Cup Captain Jim Remy, who was among the official party last year in Wales, speaking about changes for both of them.
“First, I’d like to say that you and I have gotten a big upgrade from last year, hauling coolers, towels, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches around, all the way up to captain,” said Love, “I’m excited that you all have such a great leader and that you are playing for your country. It’s quite an honor to always to do that. When they put that flag up, it changes the game a little bit. You guys are experienced and great players. You’re going to have a lot of fun. Jim’s a great guy and a great captain. You’ll do well, and keep the streak going of the U.S. never losing at home.
“I’ll be keeping track of you guys and pulling for a win. I know that you will be pulling for us next year. I’m looking for you guys to give us some momentum for Medinah next year.”
CORDEVALLE’S CREATOR VISITS OPENING CEREMONIES: World-renowned golf course designer, Robert Trent Jones Jr. visited Thursday’s Opening Ceremonies, and to the course that he opened in 1999. Jones said that he was pleased that he had not far to travel, living only an hour north in Palo Alto.
“CordeValle is very special place. It’s old California, and golden hills, and leads down to a very wide, oak-studded valley with streams running through it. It’s what most people dream of when they think of Frank Sinatra times and before. This is a special valley. We worked about 10 years, and Santa Clara County was a great partner in this.
We have tweaked the course, even though it opened in 1999, and lengthened it. You have to change due to the changes in technology and the players being a lot stronger. I’m very pleased to see this Ryder Cup-style format coming here. In this particular course, I don’t see a big advantage for either team. It’s a great match play course.”
IT’S TIME TO PLAY: The Friday Morning Four-Balls were announced following the exit of the color guard at the Opening Ceremonies. U.S. Captain Jim Remy and Great Britain & Ireland Captain Russell Weir made their selections in matches that begin at 7:30 a.m. PDT.
Remy surveyed his team over the past few months, asking their preferences, philosophies, dislikes, their style of game and the kind of partner they preferred to be paired with.
“I started the week with what I thought would be good pairings,” said Remy. “I was pleased that it came together so well. I know it will be tough, but I feel the guys are ready and practiced well. I was pleased to see how well we have gelled.
The opening match brings together reigning PGA Professional National Champion David Hutsell of Baltimore, Md., and Mark Sheftic of Blue Bell, Pa., who will face Simon Edwards and David Shacklady of England.
“David and Mark match up so well in personality, and are happy and outgoing and don’t mind chatting out there,” said Remy.
They are followed at 7:45 by three-time National Champion Mike Small of Champaign, Ill., and Faber Jamerson of Appomattox, Va., who shared runner-up honors in last June’s National Championship. They face England’s duo of Christopher Gill and Stuart Little.
“Mike and Faber have the same style of game and complement each other so well,” said Remy. “They are a lot alike in the heart of competition. Both have excellent short games.”
Scott Erdmann of Tigard, Ore., and Danny Balin of Greenwich, Conn., are among seven “rookie” USA players in the competition, and face another English duo of John Wells and Gary Brown.
“Danny and Scott are both outgoing and laugh a lot even in the middle of competition,” said Remy. “They both hit it long.”
The closing match of the morning session features Americans Rob McClellan of Butler, Pa., and Marty Jertson of Phoenix, Ariz., who will meet England’s Craig Goodfellow and Ireland’s Robert Giles.
“Rob and Marty was not the easiest pairing for me to make and as it turned out they both enjoyed practicing with one another and have glowing reviews of one another. I expect Great Britain & Ireland to be on top of their game. We hope that we can build some momentum.”
7:30 a.m. PT:
David Hutsell/Mark Sheftic, USA, vs. Simon Edwards/David Shacklady, GBI
7:45 a.m. PT:
Mike Small/Faber Jamerson, USA, vs. Christopher Gill/Stuart Little, GBI
8:00 a.m. PT:
Danny Balin/Scott Erdmann, USA, vs. John Wells/Gary Brown, GBI
8:15 a.m. PT:
Rob McClellan/Marty Jertson, USA, vs. Craig Goodfellow/Robert Giles, GBI