GREENSBORO — Seeing the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour stars of tomorrow will be easy to spot later this month at the Wyndham Cup at Old Town Club.
The Wyndham Cup, a Ryder Cup-style tournament that brings the best junior golfers from the east and the west, is one of the highlights of the season. The East vs. West format gives it a distinct feel as the teams compete for the title.
This will be the 30th Wyndham Cup, and it’s one of Mark Brazil’s favorite events.
“I love this competition because it brings the best of the best into a team concept and they really embrace it,” said Brazil, the tournament director of the Wyndham Championship.
While the AJGA’s Wyndham Invitational takes centerstage this week at Sedgefield Country Club with one of the best fields of the season, the Wyndham Cup will be on its heels later this month.
“The thing that is cool about the Wyndham Invitational is players will be vying to move up in the AJGA rankings to be a part of the Wyndham Cup teams later this month,” Brazil said. “And so a good week can get them on the team.”
The best 40 golfers, both male and female, will fill out the two teams at Old Town starting on June 30. The competition runs through July 3 with several of the top players in the field.
Lucy Li, who made a name for herself at the U.S. Women’s Open in 2014 as an 11-year-old who played in the tournament, will likely be on the West team.
For the East, Karl Vilips of Australia, Jackson Van Paris of Pinehurst and Amanda Sambach of Davidson will likely be the headliners.
The Wyndham Cup was played played at Old Town in 2015, and Cameron Young, who just graduated from Wake Forest, was on the East team. Young, who has qualified for the U.S. Open as an amateur, won five times at Wake Forest and hopes to be on the Walker Cup team later this summer.
Others who played at Old Town in 2015 included Jillian Hollis, who played at Georgia and recently won a tournament on the Symetra Tour, and Matthew Wolff, a star at Oklahoma State who was the NCAA individual champion.
Wolff, who has turned pro, was the player of the year as the winner of the Haskins Award. He’s already been given an exemption into the Wyndham Championship in August.
“Having Matthew in our field for the Wyndham Championship goes to show you how far these golfers come after junior golf,” Brazil said. “So we’re excited to have him in the field.”
One of the best attributes the AJGA does is play different formats throughout its season so golfers can be ready for college and professional careers. The five match-play formats for the competition are are four-ball, mixed four-ball, foursomes, mixed foursomes and singles.
“One thing we try and do is give the players their most professional feel as possible with ropes and tents and bleachers,” said Tyler Sumner, the director of rules and competition for the AJGA. “We want to give them that feel if they later get on either the LPGA or PGA tour.”
There is no admission fee to watch the Wyndham Cup.
“Old Town has been great in wanting this tournament back,” Brazil said. “They loved it when it was there in 2015 so we’re excited that it’s going back.”
Caddie documentary has been a hit
If you are going to have a documentary about caddies, then getting Bill Murray to be the narrator is a definite step in the right direction.
Murray, who was the star of the movie “Caddyshack” as Carl Spackler, the gopher chasing greenskeeper, does an outstanding job telling the many stories of real caddies.
The movie, “Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk” gives viewers the chance to view the game of golf from the caddie’s perspective.
Ward Clayton, who is one of the producers, wrote a book several years ago about the caddies at Augusta National Golf Club. When Clayton, a former sports editor of the Durham Herald Sun and Augusta Chronicle who is also a North Carolina graduate, was approached about turning his caddie book into a movie he jumped at the chance.
Clayton’s book, “Men on the Bag: The Caddies of Augusta National” was writ-ten in 2004 and it details the lives of the caddies at Augusta National on and off the course.
The 80-minute film has been getting positive reviews, wining best documentary awards from the Cleveland International Film Festival and the Newport Beach California Film Festival.
The only scheduled viewing of the movie in North Carolina will be at the Sunrise Theater in Southern Pines from June 14 through 16. Clayton will introduce the film and be available for a Q&A after the 7:30 p.m. showing at the theater on June 15.
Here’s the link to get tickets for the theater’s Golf Fair celebration: http://www.sunrisetheater.com/events/452-loopers-the-caddie-s-long-walk.html
The film has been released in various theaters throughout the country but private viewings of the film by clubs or organizations can be made by going to www.loopersmovie.com/request-a-screening
Around the green
It’s hard to believe it has been 20 years since Payne Stewart won the first U.S. Open ever played at Pinehurst No. 2. In 1999 I was part of the coverage of the tournament for the Winston-Salem Journal and it remains one of my favorite working weeks of my professional life. There is a lot to remember about Stewart’s win, but one that stands out for me was the putting tip he took from his wife, Tracy, that week. The advice was rather simple about keeping his head still, and he putted beautifully all week. Stewart, who died later that year in a plane crash, is remembered fondly for that victory. The statue of Stewart that depicts his winning putt just off the 18th green at Pinehurst No. 2 is one of the coolest things you will ever see….
Cameron Young, a recent graduate of Wake Forest who won five times in his career with the Deacons, will play in his first U.S. Open this week at Pebble Beach. Young qualified for the Open by being the medalist in a field of 73 golf-ers at Century Country Club and Old Oaks Country Club. “It has been a dream to play in the U.S. Open for as long as I can remember,” he said. “I missed out on last year’s U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach, so I could not be more excited to get out there and play.”…