• He likens the course to Gleneagles' PGA Centenary Course
• Has worked last three Ryder Cups but has barely seen a shot
RYDER CUP | HAZELTINE
Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course head greenkeeper Steve Chappell believes there are a lot of similarities between Hazeltine and the course he prepared for the 2014 Ryder Cup.
Chappell, who was also heavily involved in the previous two Ryder Cups at Celtic Manor and Medinah, has been invited over by Hazeltine course superintendent Chris Tritabaugh in an advisory role to share his experiences with the greenkeeping team.
"To set-up the golf course to favour a particular side is almost impossible" - Steve Chappell
And, after visiting Hazeltine last July, he couldn’t help but liken the course to Gleneagles – but doubts the similarity will give Europe and advantage for the match.
Read more -> Darren Clarke changed his mind on Ryder Cup
“It reminds me very much of the Centenary Course,” Chappell, who jets out to the midwest on September 17, told bunkered.co.uk. “Not necessarily in its design, but in the way that everything is out in front of you. When you’re on the tee box, you’ve got fairway hazards, bunkering, it’s all there.
“It’s a big golf course but it’s fair. There’s not going to be a lot of trickery in it. Looking at what I’ve seen, it’s going to be quite similar to what Paul McGinley described as a standard European Tour set-up, which is what he wanted at Gleneagles in 2014.
“But nowadays, to set-up the golf course to favour a particular side is almost impossible because the players – ours in particular – spend so much time playing on the PGA Tour.”
Read more -> Clarke names his three wildcard picks
Despite this being the fourth successive Ryder Cup he will have worked, the Gleneagles man admits that he’s barely seen any live action in the three previous matches.
At Gleneagles, he saw the first two matches tee off on Friday, Jamie Donaldsons’s wedge shot winner and the Zach Johnson v Victor Dubuisson singles match come up the 18th, while at Medinah he saw Paul Lawrie hit two tee shots on Sunday. As for Celtic Manor, he saw nothing. That’s something he hopes will change at Hazeltine.
“I’m really looking forward to this Ryder Cup,” he added. “In 2010, we didn’t really get a chance to draw breath. It was a crazy, crazy event with the way the weather went.
Read more -> Clarke names three Ryder Cup wildcard picks
“The ten days I spent at Medinah in 2012, I was working at Gleneagles by then and I was really there to try and learn as much as I could about how they were going to set up and manage their crew. It was one of the greatest Ryder Cups ever yet I was so wrapped up in how the event was being staged.
“As for 2014, obviously you’re right inside the event and by the time it had started on Friday, I was looking forward to Sunday evening when it was all over! The last three I’ve been involved in, I haven’t had the chance to step back and enjoy it so I’m really looking forward to being able to do that at Hazeltine as well as work with their guys and if they need any help or advice, I’ll be able to give it.
“I’m not going out there to just wander around though – I want to be involved and do whatever we need to do. If I do get a good bit of downtime though, hopefully I’ll be able to get out and cheer Europe on.”
Will 2016 Ryder Cup better Gleneagles in 2014? :: Your thoughts
Gleneagles was pretty special - but how do you think Hazeltine will shape up? Leave your thoughts in the 'Comments' section below.