The UL International Crown, a new way to view team golf

What’s one of the big reasons why we love sports? To witness greatness, to witness competitive play from some of the most talented human beings (horses if you’re talking horse racing) in the world.

But what fuels the passion? In most cases it’s the teams and the rooting interest in those teams.

That’s what the UL International Crown brought last week as it brought fans from all over the world to watch theor countries duke it out. The event took place at the Merit Club in the Chicago area and the ladies not only had to battle the course and each other, but they also had to battle the heat, as Chicagoland had one of its hottest weeks in history.

The heat was so bad, that team England star Charley Hull had to miss the Friday round due to illness. She came back firing off all cylinders and ended up finishing strong.

I had the chance to cover the Saturday round and taking in the atmosphere, it certainly had a Ryder Cup feel to it. Only difference is that there are eight teams compare to two teams in Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup.

This is what makes the UL International Crown such a great tournament. It’s not limited to two squads to root for, there are eight teams so there is rooting interest for everyone no matter who you are or where you’re from.

Certainly, a fan from China can root for team Europe or team USA in the Solheim Cup as it doesn’t matter who you root for. However, the fact that team China is a squad in the UL International Crown adds to that home team feeling and is closer to your heart as a fan.

The Merit Club, located in the Chicago area was a great host. Chicago is known as one of the best sports towns on the planet with teams like the Bears, Bulls, Cubs, White Sox, Blackhawks and Fire representing the city’s deep sports culture.

In the interview room, team USA addressed the media center and I had the chance to ask them what it meant to play in such a big team event in a town that is crazy about their sports. Here’s what Stacy Lewis had to say.

“I think that it’s great that we’re in this city. We’re going to be here in the next couple here the next couple of years with the KPMG tournament, as well.” Lewis said. “So it’s a market that we did well in with the Solheim Cup. I think it’s a great place for us to be playing, and hopefully we can get playing here more consistently, not just big events and majors.”

Lewis continued:

“Maybe get something a little more consistent.” Lewis said. “We were talking about it in the car ride on the way home, just the number of cities that have multiple sports teams in the same sports, and Chicago is one of not very many in that aspect. It’s a cool city, and we got to take part in it last night”.

Chicago is one of those towns that does make you discuss sports. It’s a city that can compare to other cities with multiple teams as Lewis mentioned.

This is why it would be great for the UL International Crown to continue having tournaments in major sports towns around the world. Teams help fuel a sports fan’s interest and it’s very marketable as well.

Although the individual sport is great and brings out the mental toughness of the best golfers, the team game brings a fire. As we’ve seen, college golf has increasingly gotten popular due to the drama of alternate shot among other formats as well as being live on Golf Channel.

The UL International Crown was also a great test before the Olympics in Rio next month. All eight teams were able to get a taste before the big games as the tournament was dramatic and ended with a team USA victory.

So although the UL International Crown is still a relatively new event, with so many teams reeling in fans from all over, it can blossom into something bigger.

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Europe wins Ryder Cup yet again, why US has bright future

Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler

Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler

On Sunday, the European squad once again proved why they are the world’s most powerful golf continent. They beat the US squad 16 1/2 to 11 1/2 in what at first looked like it was going to be a back and forward battle but in the end, the Euros pulled away. The singles matches’ battle between Rory Mcilroy and Rickie looked to be one for the ages but it turned out that Rory was too much for Rickie.

Rickie had a great round and still lost by a few holes thanks to Rory’s 64 on the Sunday round. There were other Sunday that looked to be interesting as well. Those being Furyk/Garcia, Spieth/McDowell (Which didn’t disappoint), Reed/Stenson (Also was good), and Kaymer/Watson seemed like it might of had potential but I thought Bubba just wasn’t playing well all weekend.

If it was the Bubba that won two Masters titles then it would have been just as good of a battle as Fowler/Mcilroy and would have been an instant classic. Arguably, the highlight of the day was Kaymer’s hole out to beat Watson and help seal the Cup once again for their eighth title in 10 events.

Matt Kuchar, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Walker all shined for the Americans however but it just wasn’t enough. The Euro stars showed up and Gleneagles proved to be a great course layout for the golfers.

Scotland also did a wonderful job of once again proving why it is the “Home of Golf” and was just the perfect fit for the game’s most intense tournament. The crowds were loud and proud as expected.

The Ryder Cup crowds never disappoint and they came out yelling like they were at a soccer match or college football game and the seats were filled with blue/yellow and red/white/blue. To be honest, I didn’t really catch the TV coverage but I did hear it on the radio and I thought their coverage was outstanding.

They had a full golf broadcasting team of all-stars and they did such a great job of reeling me in to the action that was on the course. I know some like to underestimate golf on the radio but it’s one of best coverages you’ll get in sports. Listening to The Masters and the Ryder Cup on the radio is quite a treat.

The roars of the crowds are louder, the broadcasters are much more intense and you can hear the smack of the clubs so well. They did an excellent job of painting the picture of what the players are seeing and feeling. Although the Americans lost, there’s still a lot of things to feel excited about moving forward into the next Ryder Cup.

Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth clearly proved that they’re the young rising stars in American golf, Jimmy Walker just looks to get better and better and a guy like Matt Kuchar is in his prime. The future is bright with all of these talented players coming out of college and the Web.com Tour.

Not only that but the old school players are still kickin’ it like Jim Furyk who had an incredible year from a statistical standpoint. If you just went by his numbers, he was by far the best player on that US squad and not a bad player to have at all. He can still dial it in from afar and can hit soft, yet beautiful tee shots that land in the fairway.

Rickie Fowler is the young face of American golf right now. He is to the US what Rory is to Europe and with his unbelievable display at the majors despite not winning, that’s something to feel good about.

Bubba Watson who for a short time looked like he might have been the new face of American golf with his amazing Masters displays the last few years but recently he’s been quiet, at least on the course. He still gets major attention but hasn’t played very well lately unfortunately because Bubba is one of the funnest players to watch on Tour which solidifies his major popularity.

Still a good sign for the Americans regardless because if Bubba can play like he does at The Masters then he’s one of the most dangerous players in the world. I can’t say enough about the kids, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.

Both very mature for their ages and just go out their and give it their all. As much as Patrick can get under people’s skin a little bit, he’s not even close to a bad dude. Do you hear anything bad about him off the course? Nope. He’s always cool to the media, gives intelligent answers and just goes out their and plays golf.

He also has a bit of fire to him as well which is awesome. Jordan, we already know he’s a good dude. Although kinda quiet, he goes out their and rips you to shreds. He kinda has the attitude of a young Jason Dufner. Cool, calm and collected, for the most part.

Fowler, Reed and Spieth are America’s big three young guns and I feel Fowler is the perfect leader of the three because he is one of the classiest guys in all of golf and handles himself so well. He’s also just a fun guy to talk to as well.

I see Rickie as like an older brother to Reed and Spieth (Although Reed is only a year younger) because of the experience Rickie has already gained. He just finished his second Ryder Cup already and it wouldn’t shock anybody if he was selected again in 2016. Who knows, by that time, he’ll probably have a couple of majors under his belt.

Matt Kuchar just keeps getting better and has an incredible attitude on the course. He doesn’t let things faze him, he puts a smile on and keeps going and then he kicks your butt. If there’s anybody who’s an inspiration when it comes to his attitude, it’s a guy like Kuch and a guy like Zach Johnson who some consider “THE nicest guy in all of golf” and both play very well. Once Zach is in the zone, his clubs turn into lazers as accurate as he can be.

Jimmy Walker who has had a couple of very solid years is definitely in his prime plus he has the experience to go along with it. J-Walk can be one of those rare all-around players when he’s zoned in out on the course. Can’t expect anything less from Jimmy in the coming years, look to see him win some more.

Keegan is Keegan. He’s been somewhat quiet but as young as he is, don’t be surprised to see him join the young studs like Spieth, Reed, and Fowler. Heck, Keegan is the only one of the four to have won a major so far (Won the PGA Championship as a ROOKIE)! So, there’s no doubt Keegan will be fine.

Can’t forget about guys like the always entertaining Billy Horschel who a lot and I mean A LOT of people thought should have been selected to the Ryder Cup team but he’s a guy who I feel can be a monster for the Americans in future Ryder Cups.

Chris Kirk, who arguably has one of the most beautiful looking golf swings in the world is also a guy to look out for. He literally took down the world’s best in Rory Mcilroy in the FedEx Cup playoffs and that alone speaks volumes. His swing is so pure that it seems like he could nail every fairway and green. I think the world may start getting used to Chris Kirk’s name pretty soon.

Gary Woodland is another guys who’s played pretty well lately and is a machine on those critical close putts. If he can hit his greens and gets them close, he’ll beat you nine times out of 10.

Overall, the Americans have a lot of positives to look at going into the future. The Ryder Cup team in a couple of years could be one of the best we may see in long, long time. If you’re an American golf fan, you should be very excited about what’s coming because we’re in a time where the young stars are rising while some of the veterans are still in their prime and this is a time we should definitely cherish.

Raise your golf flags America!

Team USA. Lookin'....tough...  Credit: SI.com

Team USA. Lookin’….tough…
Credit: SI.com

team-usa-be

Leave your thoughts on team USA and be sure to follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio!


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Here’s a Look at the Potential Golf Teams for the 2016 Olympics, Some Picks may be Surprising, Who’s on Team USA?

Beautiful Rio De Janeiro will host the 2016 Olympic games which will feature golf for the first time in....FOREVER!

Beautiful Rio De Janeiro will host the 2016 Olympic games which will feature golf for the first time in….FOREVER!

With the 2016 Olympic games featuring golf for the first time in over 100 years, I thought it was only fitting to take a look at what the teams would look like if the events began as of Saturday. There are some interesting players on the rosters, no doubt about it. There may also be some picks that you may be surprised about as well. Having golf in the Olympics again is going to be so fun and will be a big breath of fresh air in the games. This gives players the chance of accomplishing something that they thought would never have a chance to capture and that is a gold medal. Golf in the Olympics is also a very shiny, bright red cherry on top of the cake that includes the Ryder Cup. So, which players would be on the U.S. squad? On that note, here’s the rosters for each country for both men and women courtesy of the fine people at GolfRumors.com:

2016 OLYMPIC GAMES GOLF ROSTERS

So, there you have it. What do you think? I know it’s really early but with so many talents today, it would really be interesting seeing them play in the Olympics if it started today. Hey you never know, maybe these rosters will be nearly accurate come the time of the Olympics. One thing’s for sure and that if these were the rosters then it would be a pretty hot Olympics. I however won’t be surprised if the roster is even hotter and stronger come 2016 with so many tremendous young talents coming out of high school and college now. So, who do you think should have or shouldn’t have been featured on these rosters? Let me know in the comments!

So, if you enjoyed this post then please be sure to subscribe to the GP Golf Report on the left side of your shiny computer screen and please follow me on the Tweeta (Twitter) @ChiGolfRadio! Also, don’t forget to “Like” the GP Golf Report on Facebook by clicking here or add me as a friend by clicking here. Everyone have a good one, Colin, out!


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Team USA Captain Couples Says Johnson is Good to Go

Zach Johnson, arguably the best control player on Tour is ready to go for this year's President's Cup.

Zach Johnson, arguably the best control player on Tour is ready to go for this year’s President’s Cup.

 

After Zach had suffered the flu, President’s Cup team USA captain Fred Couples says that Zach Johnson is ready to go and ready to help lead team USA to victory. Many wondered if Zach would be ready after suffering his flu like symptoms and now many American fans can rest easy now as arguably the king of accuracy is back on the course. Now, some people may think that he’s not a big part of the team but for one, you hope the guy is alright and two, he is a HUGE part of the team because although the US squad is loaded, you would have been missing your best control player and it’s very important to have a great control player in a team event. Without a great control player, your team will have to rely and power and that’s not always what you want.

You want guys who guaranteed fairways and greens on almost ever swing and that’s what Zach’s capable of doing. `He’s also a very solid putter and keep make birdies at will and when you have that on your team, the chances of you winning are even greater. So, having him on the team will be a plus against a young International team that although on paper, doesn’t look good, can potentially give a solid fight against team USA and it helps when you have Adam Scott, Ernie Ells, Angel Cabrera and the ever dangerous Jason Day on your team so I don’t think the International team will go down easy so that’s why having Zach for team USA is a boost. Freddy didn’t see Zach but did talk to him a few times and says that he’s OK so that’s a good sign plus, Zach told Freddy that he wants to head to the course and work on his chipping and putting and that’s a great way to start practicing.

It’s always best to start around the greens because it’s the most important aspect of the game because it can save you from total disaster if you hit a bad tee shot and have to hit a good recovery shot to reach the green. So, when you reach the green, you can get out of there with a par or bogey rather than a double or triple bogey. So, now that team USA is at full strength, will they run away with this year’s President’s Cup or will it be a battle? Let me know in the comments section and please share this post if you enjoy it! Here are the full President’s Cup rosters: http://back9network.com/article/2013-presidents-cup-rosters/ Keep it real all, from Chicago with love.


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