Until earlier this year I had never heard of this great championship that invites 22 two man teams from around the globe from top 100 ranked clubs.
On the homepage of the website http://www.worldclubchampionship.org you can see the beautiful island green that makes Nine Bridges one of the top courses in the world.
Having never been to Asia in my life, I was very curious about how this experience would unfold. My journey started upon the completion of the last round of the whisper rock national invitational in Scottsdale Arizona, where me and my partner Paul Balatti finished fourth. I then began my journey starting at Skyharbor airport in Phoenix, then a short flight to LAX where I boarded a midnight flight on Saturday which arrived in Seoul South Korea Monday morning at 4:40 AM
The business class flight was fantastic with a seat that reclined basically into a small flatbed, making it a very comfortable 12 hour journey over the Pacific Ocean. Upon my arrival I realize that this was not just an ordinary event, this event was designed to treat you as if you were representing your country in the Olympic Games.
Upon my arrival, I was unable to get any rest as the Monday morning activities started at 9 AM, which involved us boarding a bus going to a very high tech mall where we all saw Mad Max in 4D. Honestly the movie was a lot better than I had expected, but for those of you that do not know what 4D is all about, you may want to pass on the experience , as the chair jolts you all over the place while wind and rain are blowing at you from all directions.
I must say after a long day plus of travel, a tweaked back by the 4D chair, I was not in any great shape to start another golf tournament. But as you know, once the tournament juices get flowing, we always seem to find a way to get fired up especially for an event like this.
The opening ceremonies were beyond anything I could’ve ever imagined, as all 13 flags from the different countries represented in the tournament were raised each individually while their national anthem were played.
This was truly a first-class event in every way, the food, the accommodations, and the attention and preparation, every last detail was well beyond anything that I have ever experienced before.
But honestly what I enjoyed most were the other fellow competitors and the friendships forged with some great people from other parts of the world from clubs that I’ve only heard about. Below is a photo of our four amazing female caddies that between them know about 10 English words, but certainly know how to caddie and root on their player.
My female caddie was off the charts good having caddied at Nine Bridges for 10 years. I hit many wild shots, mixed in with some great shot at some key moments. But regardless she always seemed to know what club to hand to me.
My good friend and fellow Olympian Kory Storer was the real star of this event as he propelled our Olympic team into the final match.
Behind each green was a TV tower, that during the competition had a camera man zooming in on each shot. And behind us we would have to wait until the camera crew will get set up to film each and every shot during the semi final match and then again in the finals. The problem, is that I had so many poor shots in both the semi final and final match, I am sure the viewers in December tuning into golf channel will wonder why they’re filming someone hitting shots all over the lot, the simple answer is it’s an amateur event and fortunately a best ball tournament wereI had a STUD partner that I was able to occasionally help. As always there was great curiosity about the Side Saddle Putting, which also was not in great form.
Unfortunately in the final match we both played very poorly out of the gate and made several bogeys which got us four down after eight holes. We rallied hard on the back nine as Kory’s game kicked back into high gear. But we were just too far down to complete the come back against the strong young studs from Oakmont that prevailed on the 17th green to win the 2015 World Club Championship- Congrats again to the Oakmont team!!
The format of the event is two rounds of best ball, with the top four teams advancing to match play.
David Smith the man behind this event did a very impressive job, and should be congratulated for creating by far the best amateur club event in the world has ever seen.
I posted some of the video clips I took during the tournament, so click on them and get a little glimpse into the ceremonies and people involved in this amazing event.