The Ryder Cup takes the golf world’s center stage this week, and the biennial competition between teams representing the United States and Europe promises to be special for a couple of area residents. They might have the best observation spots in the house.
Toni Buerkert and Brenda Bauer volunteered to assist with the tournament, and the luck of the draw assigned them to assist with gallery control on the 18th hole.
Excited? You bet.
“The Ryder Cup is such a great event and this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Buerkert said.
But a spot on the finishing hole comes with no guarantees. With the match-play format, the head-to-head competition could be over before reaching No. 18. The final-hole scene could feature the drama of Bernhard Langer’s putt in 1991 or, like 2010, an empty green with celebrations elsewhere.
“We will have our passes, so we can watch everything else if we’re not working,” Buerkert said. “No matter what, it’s going to be a memorable experience.”
Buerkert and Bauer are avid golfers, playing several times a week. Bauer competed in last week’s WSCGA stroke-play championship at Debordieu and Buerkert spent her time preparing for the Ryder Cup trip — after a round, of course.
“With the Ryder Cup close enough to drive (at Medinah Country Club in the Chicago area), I thought volunteering would be fun and Brenda thought so, too,” Buerkert said. “We didn’t know if we would get chosen and kept our fingers crossed.”
They received acceptance letters, made hotel reservations and a year later, they’re ready to go. They will get to the course in time for training Monday, then work practice rounds Tuesday and Wednesday before getting time off until Saturday’s second day of competition.
“We have our uniforms and (the PGA of America) sent us vouchers for meals and water,” she said. “It looks like the 15th hole, a drivable par-4 with water in play, will be a great risk-reward hole, and we hope for some excitement on the 18th.”
But they will pass on the idea from a friend, who suggested they discard the tournament’s signage and make their own that tells the gallery, ‘Hush, Y’all.”
Columbia Country Club members Eddie Hargett and Whit Suber shot a final 65 for a 129 total to claim a three-shot win in the SCGA Players Four-Ball tourney played on their home course. Steve Liebler teamed with son Chase to finish second in the best-ball format over 36 holes. ... Steve Liebler joined Todd White and Josh Branyon in forming the South Carolina team in the USGA Men’s State team matches, and the Palmetto state trio finished tied for 13th in the biennial event staged in Galloway, N.J. ... Corbin Mills, who turned pro this summer following his junior year at Clemson, won the E-Golf Tour’s Cabarrus Classic in Concord, N.C. in his fourth pro start. Trailing by three shots entering the final round, Mills opened with four straight birdies and seven in his first eight holes en route to a 65. An 18th-hole birdie secured the one-stroke victory and the $12,500 winner’s check. ... Rick Cloninger (Fort Mill) posted a final-round 67 and won the CGA’s Carolinas Senior Amateur title by six strokes at Forest Oaks Country Club in Greensboro. ... Dawn Woodard (Greer) shot a course-record 66 in the final round to surge from behind and win the WSCGA stroke-play title at Debordieu. Lea Venable (Simpsonville) finished second and Lea Anne Brown (Mount Pleasant) took third.