Ridgewood Letter to Members

By Golf Channel NewsroomJanuary 15, 2008, 5:00 pm
Subject: 2008 Barclays
January 14, 2008
 

Dear Fellow Member,
This letter was scheduled to go to you sometime during the 4th week of January, but events of the past few days have caused us to send it now. The purpose of this communication was to have been to announce that our club had reached an agreement with the PGA Tour to host the 2008 Barclays Classic, the first leg of the FedEx Cup playoff. Word of our discussions with the PGA Tour was leaked to Golf World and perhaps other media. A story appeared on the Golf World website last Friday and on the Golf Channel on Saturday. Neither we nor the Tour had a hand in the leak. We do not yet have a final Agreement. However, we expect that it will be finalized and signed in the near future. Following is some information regarding the event that I am confident you will find exciting.
 
Guess Whos Coming to Ridgewood was the headline on the MGA Magazine cover in 1990 when the Big 4 of golf were about to compete in the 1990 US Senior Open at RCC. Now again we can ask the same question. Except that this time it refers to the best professional golfers in the world, who will be coming to our Club to compete in the Barclays Classic which will be held from August 18th to the 24th.
 
As many of you know, over the years our Club has hosted a number of important golf tournaments, including the 1935 Ryder Cup matches, the 1974 US Amateur, the 1990 Senior US Open and the 2001 Senior PGA Championship. Late last summer, the PGA Tour asked the Board if it would consider hosting the 2008 Barclays Classic. After holding PGA tournament events at the Westchester Country Club for some 40 years, including the 2007 Barclays, the Tour wanted to make a change in the venue.
 
At first, we were skeptical. Would our great Tillinghast course stand up to the test? Could we pull it all together in less than a year? Could we handle the crowds if Woods and Michelson both played and were paired in the final group on a sunny Sunday afternoon? Would the disruption to our members enjoyment of their club be worth the money? However, when all the facts came together, it became readily apparent that given the nature of the event and the immediate and residual benefit that could accrue to our club, it was an offer that we should not refuse. And so, after several negotiating sessions with the TOUR and three special meetings of the Board, where the upside and downside considerations of hosting the event were debated, the Board voted overwhelmingly to accept the Tour proposal, subject to a formal Agreement. This is where we stand today. Once we do have an executed Agreement, the news will be posted on our website and well get the word out to you as quickly as we can.
 
Let me summarize what this event will mean to our Club and our members. First, the Barclays will be played over a special Championship course described on the attached. At par 71 and stretching 7,304 yards, the layout should provide a good and fair test for the golfers.
 
For a 30 day period preceding the event, play will be limited to members only and cart use will be restricted on the Championship course to rope designated paths. From the 16th to the 24th of August, the golf course will be closed to member play. The practice range will be closed from August 17th thru the 24th. Regular member play will resume on August 26th. Special member events over the Championship course are being planned and more information will be forthcoming.
 
The set-up of tents and sky-box pavilions will take about 6 weeks prior to the event but this construction will largely be limited to the perimeter of the five finishing holes and care will be taken to minimize the imposition on the play of members and guests. No construction will take place during special event days like the Club Championship, Clambake, etc.
 
For the tournament, our members will be able to purchase a special Ticket Package to watch play during the tournament week. Arrangements for ticket holders will be made to provide parking in a designated VIP area and access to the Champions Bar and Grille and Patio which will be designated for members only use.
 
And finally, the club will benefit financially. The package, although not overly generous, is acceptable. We have a minimum financial guarantee and a cap on our out-of pocket expenses that will ensure a reasonable profit. In addition, there is significant upside profit potential that is largely dependent on hospitality sales and attendance. One of the special things that the Tour does is to donate profits from their events to charity. Such is the case with the Barclays where an expected $850,000 will be donated, with a minimum of $350,000 of that total going to local charities to be selected jointly by RCC and the Tour.
 
The PGA Tour is not the same organization as the PGA of America that ran the 2001 PGA Senior Championship. The Tour runs a number of important PGA events and has a full-time staff of professionals dedicated for this purpose. Among this staff are the individuals who have conducted the past events at Westchester CC and they will be responsible for the bulk of the work related to putting on the Barclays. Therefore, we are confident that we will see an outstanding, well organized event that will showcase our great Ridgewood Country Club. Members who wish to volunteer their services during this event will be given a priority.
 
Our club will likely be in the national golf spotlight for a time after the Tour issues its press release and the news becomes more wide spread, and we should be prepared. I will be acting as the spokesman for our club for any information about our club or the clubs hosting this event. Inquiries by any media should be directed to me so that we can provide a concise and uniform response.
 
We will keep you posted on news and information and on the progress of the preparations for the event but I know that there will still be many questions. Please feel free to direct your questions to me or any member of our Board of Directors.
 
Sincerely,
Alex Khowaylo
President
 
Related Links:
  • Westchester Out as Barclays Host
  • Full Coverage - The Barclays
  • Getty Images

    Own history, grow the game with Open memorabilia auction

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 1:00 pm

    Get a piece of history and help grow the game, that's what The Open is offering with its memorabilia auction.

    The official Open Memorabilia site features unique Open assets from famous venues and Champion Golfers of the Year. All net proceeds received by The R&A from this project will be invested to support the game for future generations, including encouraging women’s, junior and family golf, on the promotion and progression of the sport in emerging golf nations and on coaching and development.

    Items for auction include limited edition prints of Champion Golfers of the Year, signed championship pin flags and limited edition historical program covers. Memorable scorecard reproductions and caddie bibs are also available to bid for on the website, with all items featuring branded, serialized holograms for authenticity.

    Click here to own your piece of history and to get more information on the auction.

    Getty Images

    No indication when Trump Turnberry will next host an Open

    By Jay CoffinJuly 18, 2018, 12:25 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Turnberry last hosted The Open in 2009, during that magical week where Tom Watson, at age 59, nearly won his sixth claret jug. Ultimately, Stewart Cink won in a playoff.

    While Turnberry remains on The Open rota, according to the R&A, there is no clear understanding of when the club, purchased by Donald Trump in 2014 before he became President of the United States, will next host the championship. The next open date is 2022.

    “With respect to 2022, I’ve already said, ’21 we’re going to be celebrating the 150th playing of The Open at St. Andrews,” R&A chief executive Marin Slumbers said Wednesday on the annual news conference on the eve of The Open. “And in ’22, we’ll be going south of the border.”


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    South of the border means the 2022 Open will be at one of the three venues in England. Since the 2020 Open is at Royal St. George’s, that leaves Royal Lytham & St. Annes and Royal Liverpool as the two remaining options. Since Lytham (2012, Ernie Els) last hosted The Open before Liverpool (2014, Rory McIlroy), that’s the likely choice.

    Trump was at Turnberry for two days last weekend, 150 miles southwest of Carnoustie. The R&A said it did not receive any communication from the U.S. president while he was in the country.

    Turnberry hosted the Women’s British Open in 2015. Inbee Park beat Jin-young Park by three shots.

    Getty Images

    Slumbers explains driver test; Rory weighs in

    By Rex HoggardJuly 18, 2018, 12:18 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Players and manufacturers were informed about three weeks ago that the R&A intended to test individual drivers at this week’s Open Championship, marking the first time the rule makers have taken the current standards to players.

    Although the R&A and USGA have been COR (coefficient of restitution) tests on drivers for some time, they have been pulling the tested clubs from manufacturers, not players.

    “We take our governance role very seriously, not just on the Rules of Golf and amateur status, but also equipment standards, and we felt it was an appropriate next step to more actively seek to test players' drivers straight out of the bag,” said Martin Slumbers, the R&A’s chief executive.

    Thirty players were notified their drivers would be tested this week - including Paul Casey, Brooks Koepka, Jason Day and Henrik Stenson - from a list that roughly mirrored the breakdown of various brands based on current equipment counts.


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    The R&A test center was set up on the Carnoustie practice range, and according to Slumbers there were no violations of the testing limits, which essentially measure the spring-like effect of the driver clubface.

    Although none of the drivers failed the testing, Rory McIlroy did say that TaylorMade was “singled out a bit more than anyone else.”

    “A manufacturer is always going to try and find ways to get around what the regulations are. It's a bit of an arms race,” said McIlroy, who plays TaylorMade equipment but said his driver was not tested. “If there is some drivers out there that have went a little bit over the limit, then obviously guys shouldn't be playing them. I think the manufacturers are smart enough to know not to try to push it too much.”

    There was no individual driver testing at last month’s U.S. Open, and it’s not expected to become the norm on the PGA Tour, but Slumbers did say the R&A tested drivers at an event earlier this year on the Japan Golf Tour.

    Getty Images

    Carnoustie open to any number of scenarios

    By Rex HoggardJuly 18, 2018, 12:07 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Carnoustie holds a distinct position within the Open Championship’s rotation of storied venues. It’s come by its nickname, Car-Nasty, honestly as the undisputed rough-and-tumble heavyweight of all the championship links.

    Historically, Carnoustie is a beast. A punch in the mouth compared to the other stops on The Open dance card. If the likes of the Old Course and Muirfield are the fair ladies of the rotation, the Angus Coast brute would be the unfriendly bouncer.

    As personas go, Carnoustie wears its reputation well, but the 147th edition of the game’s oldest championship has taken on a new look this week. It’s not so much the softer side of Carnoustie as it is a testament to the set up philosophy of the R&A.

    Unlike its sister association in the United States, the R&A allows Mother Nature to decide what kind of test a championship will present and this Open is shaping up to be something far different than what the golf world is accustomed.

    Instead of the thick, lush rough that ringed the fairways in 1999 and 2007, the last two stops at the par-71 layout, this year has a dust bowl feel to it. The stories have already become legend: Padraig Harrington hit a 457-yard drive on the 18th hole during a practice round that bounced and bounded into Barry Burn and on Monday Tiger Woods slashed a 333-yard 3-iron down the same power alley.

    “It’s so fast. It’s nothing like ’99 – that was like a jungle. It was wet, rough was up, there was wind. In 2007, it was cold and green,” said Ernie Els, who has played two championships at Carnoustie. “But this is very, very dry. Very different.”


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Anywhere else these divergent conditions would simply be the nature of the game’s most hands-off major, but at Carnoustie it’s created an information vacuum and wild uncertainty.

    Within a 48-hour window, two of the championship’s easy favorites offered diametrically contrasting philosophies on how they might play Carnoustie.

    “There's eight or nine drivers we hit. Depending on the wind direction, we could hit more,” said Brooks Koepka, who won his second consecutive U.S. Open last month. “It's so burnt out, where there's a lot of opportunity where the rough's not quite as thick as I expected it to be.”

    That was in contrast to how Jordan Spieth, this week’s defending champion, was thinking he would play the course.

    “I talked to [caddie Michael Greller] a little bit about what he thinks, and he said, ‘You might hit a lot of 5-irons off the tee, you might wear out 5- and 4-irons off the tee instead of hitting 3- or 2-irons like you're used to,’” Spieth said.

    Unlike previous championships that were played at Carnoustie, which were won by the player best prepared to take a punch, this one might come down to which strategy, controlled and calculated or bold and brash, works best.

    In theory, the bombers seem to be on to something, primarily as a result of the dry conditions that have produced uncharacteristically thin and playable rough. The alternative is weaving irons in between the countless bunkers that pepper each fairway, which on links courses are widely considered true hazards compared to what players face at other major venues.

    “I would definitely say it is a bomber’s course,” said Gary Woodland, who counts himself among the long-hitting set. “A lot of the bunkers here are 285, 290 [yards] to cover, for us that’s nothing. You can take them out of play, which normally isn’t the case because it’s windy and rainy over here.”

    That line of thinking leads to a rather narrow list of potential contenders, from betting favorite Dustin Johnson to Rory McIlroy and Koepka. But that logic ignores the inherent unpredictability of The Open, where countless contenders have been undercut by the rub of a bad draw and the always-present danger of inclement weather.

    Although this week’s forecast calls for continued dry weather, winds are currently forecast to reach 25 mph on Sunday which could upend game plans, regardless of how aggressive or conservative one intended to play the course.

    Despite conventional thinking and the realities of a modern game that is being dominated more and more by long hitters, there are compelling arguments for the other side of the bash-or-bunt debate.

    One needs to look no further than Woods’ record on similarly dusty tracks as an example of how a conservative approach can produce championship results. In 2006 at Royal Liverpool, Woods, who is playing his first Open since 2015, famously hit just one driver all week on his way to victory, and he was just as effective in 2000 at St. Andrews when the Old Course also played to a bouncy brown.

    “It could be that way,” Woods said when asked to compare ’06 at Hoylake to this week. “Either case, I'm not going to hit that many long clubs off the tees.”

    Adding to that uncertainty is Carnoustie’s track record in producing late drama on Sunday. This is, after all, the same slice of coast where Jean Van de Velde stepped to the 18th tee box with a three-stroke lead in 1999 only to slash his way to a closing triple-bogey 7 and the game’s most memorable, or regrettable, runner-up showing.

    In ’07, the heartbreak went extra frames for Sergio Garcia, who appeared poised to win his first major championship before he bogeyed the last hole and lost a playoff to Harrington.

    Even this week’s baked-out conditions can’t mitigate the importance and challenge of what many consider the most difficult Grand Slam finish; but the yellow hue has certainly created an added degree of uncertainty to an already unpredictable championship.