5 Key Holes in the Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club
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Medinah Country Club was opened in 1925. It has a storied history and has hosted three Western Opens, one U.S. Senior Open, two PGA Championships and three U.S. Opens.
Hale Irwin won the 1990 U.S. Open and Tiger Woods won the 1999 and 2006 PGA Championships at Medinah.
It is a classic, old-style golf course requiring length off the tee and accurate iron play. The tree-lined fairways of the No. 3 course at Medinah will play to 7,658 yards and par-72.
With the boisterous Chicago sports fans providing the buzz and cheers, Medinah should prove to be a perfect venue for the 39th Ryder Cup.
Nerves Will Be Present on No. 1
Nervous tension will affect the play at No. 1
The first hole at Medinah Country Club is a 433-yard par-four. It is not the most difficult hole on the course, but the players will be a bundle of nerves as they hit the first tee shot.
The first hole has been lengthened since the PGA Tour last visited Medinah. A driver will yield a hanging lie for the second shot. The smart play will be to choose a fairway wood or hybrid for the tee shot to find a level lie for the second shot.
There is a run-off area to the back-left of the green that needs to be avoided. With a bunker guarding the front right side of the green, the most difficult pin placement is on the back-right.
It is a relatively easy opening hole, but tension and nerves of the Ryder Cup will make it very difficult to pull the club back for even the most seasoned veteran.
190 Yards of Water Wait to Catch an Errant Tee Shot at No. 2
No 2 is all carry over water
Once the players navigate the first hole, they get to face a 192-yard par-three that is all carry over water.
The par-three island hole No. 17 at the TPC Sawgrass is only a wedge or nine-iron shot. No. 2 at Medinah is a narrow peninsula that requires a mid or long iron.
Winds roiling through the trees make choosing the proper club a task akin to solving a Rubik's cube.
If players struggle on No. 1, they will not have the confidence to hit the proper shot on No. 2.
Teams could find that they are two down very quickly if they don’t come out firing on all cylinders.
No. 5 Is the First Reachable Par-5 at Medinah Country Club
No. 5 is a reachable par-5
No. 5 at Medinah will offer the first par-five for the players. At 536 yards, it will be reachable for everyone.
The green is elevated and protected by bunkers, so it is not an easy approach.
A decision must be made on the tee whether to hit a driver and then an iron to the green or lay back with a fairway wood or hybrid which will leave a hybrid second into the green.
Due to the difference in styles among players, this could be a key decision hole for foursome matches. It has to be one of the holes that dictates each captain’s choices for teams.
Look for the team that can eagle No. 5 to gain an advantage in their match.
The Front Tees Will Tempt Long Hitters to Drive the Green at No. 15
No. 15 at Medinah is the Ultimate Risk and Reward hole
The short par-four No. 15 will provide the most excitement in the Ryder Cup. It is listed at 391 yards on the card but can be shortened to 300 yards.
Teams that are three-down heading to No. 15 can be decided on this short par-four. The losing team must go for the green and force the play. Disaster could await and the match could end abruptly.
The tees will most certainly be moved forward for the fourball sessions. A long hitter paired with a control player will allow the control player to find the fairway and the bomber to go for the green.
Bunkers protecting the front of the green, a collection area to the back right and water along the right side of the fairway will provide the perils, and bogeys are always lurking for the errant golf shot.
This should be a very key hole in all of the matches. The aggressive, confident player will have a rip at making an eagle two or at least a two-putt birdie. Meanwhile, the control player could also be key by bailing out his long-hitting partner in the event the bomber finds the water.
No. 17 Is Another Difficult Par-3 at Medinah Country Club
Many of the matches will be decided on No. 17
There are 13 other holes that can play a very important part of any match, but as they near the end of the round, No. 17 could prove the deciding factor in many of the matches.
No. 17 is another wonderful par-three. It requires a full 193-yard carry over water to a green guarded by bunkers, front right and back left.
The safe shot will be to the back left of the green, but the team that finds itself down coming into No. 17 will be forced to take on the pin and the water.
That’s when Medinah can bite and matches will be over before they reach No. 18.
Chicago and Medinah Is the Perfect Place for the Ryder Cup
Jose Maria Olazabal and Davis Love want the Ryder Cup
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Medinah Country Club will provide a great venue for the Ryder Cup.
The course is magnificent and the conditions should be favorable to allow great golf.
Chicago golf fans will be the "13th" man for Team USA and keep the excitement at a fever pitch.
Golf fans look forward to the Ryder Cup for two years and it is finally here.
Let’s get it on!