Junior Ryder Cup captains anticipate start of premier international event

By Randy Stutzman
Published on

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. -- Roger Warren and Stuart Wilson know that their teams will go through a series of emotions over the next few days at the 2012 Junior Ryder Cup.

But Warren, the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup captain, and Wilson, the European captain, will try to help keep those emotions in check as they lead their teams in the 8th Junior Ryder Cup, one of the pre-eminent junior team competitions in the world. The two-day, match-play event begins Monday at historic Olympia Fields Country Club.

"The most important thing to do when you are playing in this type of event is not to get too high and not too get to low," said Warren. "My job is to make sure that if someone is uncertain or uncomfortable, I can help build their confidence and let them know they're okay.

"But these are all great players and if they have a problem they will fix it."

Warren, the president of Kiawah Island (S.C.) Golf Resort, who served as the 34th President of The PGA of America from 2004-06, is eager to get things started and watch his talented team perform.

"The skills they demonstrated to get here are evident in how they have practiced and played so far this week," said Warren. "They are confident and comfortable in this situation, which is really important."

A pair of standout Californians -- Beau Hossler of Mission Viejo and Alison Lee of Valencia -- will lead the United States team.

Hossler has competed in the last two U.S. Open Championships, finishing in a tie for 29th in 2012 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. Hossler also won the 2011 Junior World Championship.

Lee, a member of the victorious 2010 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team, was runner-up in the 2012 U.S. Girls' Junior Championship. The 17-year-old has played in three U.S. Women's Opens and was a member of the 2011 Junior Solheim Cup Team.

Wilson, who will also captain the European Junior Ryder Cup Team in 2014, won the Silver Medal as the leading amateur at The Open Championship in 2004. He is equally excited to showcase his European players.

"We spent a lot of time monitoring results throughout the year and we have a strong team in the format of match play," said Wilson, who competed in the Walker Cup in 2003. "We are also fortunate that a lot of these juniors are performing well on the senior [Amateur and Professional] level."

Leading the European Team in 2012 are Matthias Schwab of Austria on the boys' side and Harang Lee of Spain on the girls' side. The 17-year-old Schwab finished in a tie for 32nd place in the 2010 Austrian Open, a European Tour event. He was also runner-up in the British Amateur in 2012. Lee, 16, won the Spanish International Championship in 2012 and the European Young Masters in 2011.

No matter the result, both Captains know it will be an unforgettable experience for both themselves and their respective teams.

"This is a great life experience for all of these juniors," said Wilson. "The friendships they will make and the opportunity of playing in this event are absolutely incredible."

The Junior Ryder Cup features one day of six foursome matches (three boys' matches and three girls' matches) in the morning, same day of six mixed four-ball matches in the afternoon and one final day of singles matches involving all 12 members of each team.

Participants in the 2012 Junior Ryder Cup will also play a "Friendship" Match on Sept. 26, at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club, site of the 39th Ryder Cup. The 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.