Orlando's Grand Cypress to Host 2010 LPGA Championship

Andy Reistetter@GolfWriter59Analyst INovember 19, 2010

Golf Writer Andy Reistetter continues his exclusive "Play-Write" series with one of America's finest Golf Resorts- Orlando's Grand Cypress. Having the opportunity to play this Nicklaus gem shortly before this year's LPGA Championship was a real treat. Here is the seventh article in the series including the legacy of the North/South golf course and the upcoming Grand Finale of the 2010 LPGA season.


Competitive professional golf is yet to be wrapped up for the year of 2010.


The men's PGA TOUR concluded its season last weekend at the Magnolia Course on the grounds of the Magic Kingdom.


The LPGA tour will have the last swing of the year at their Championship on the North-South layout near the Villas at the Grand Cypress Golf Resort.


The women's finale comes three weeks after the men's finale. If Lago and Zazu could escape from the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disney World they would fly only three miles clubhouse to clubhouse.


Grand Cypress has a legacy and a pedigree of its own in Golf World.


It is a paradise of 45 golf holes created by Golf's One and Only GreatestJack Nicklaus.

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The North and South nines opened for play in 1984 and the East nine in 1986. Nicklaus' personal tribute to St. Andrews, Scotland, the Home of Golf- the New Course opened in 1988.


The East nine showcases the island green of the 153-yard par-3 fifth hole. Some say this hole is even better than its older relative, the famed 17th on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. Any golfer is sure to take in the view from the elevated tee and remember the challenge of this tee shot.


Nicklaus amazingly transformed the Floridian landscape and brought a bit of the famed links land of the Old Course from across the pond.


Of course the first hole of the New links starts off with a shared fairway with the incoming finishing hole. Complete with a burn guarding the front of the green the golfer can turn around and visualize the historic St. Andrews clubhouse.


With pot bunkers galore, the Swilican Bridge, double greens, a Road Hole with hardened path fronting the stone wall and the "Costantino Rocca" Valley of Sin protecting the green on the home hole, one is sure to feel connected to the roots of the game of golf.


Bring your A-Game and "grip it and rip it" like John Daly and you might go home "Champion Golfer of the Year" or at least of your foursome for time well spent at the Grand Cypress Golf Resort.


Surely the story, at least for the next few weeks, is the powerful combination of the recently renovated North and South courses to form a formidable test for the 2010 LPGA Championship.


The two nines literally come together in a double green for their respective eighth hole. The nines then take a final spin and dance together as they make their way to the perched Mediterranean style clubhouse.


The last North hole crosses over to become the tournament's No. 9 hole with a long narrow lake from tee-to-green on the left. The last South hole, the tournament's No. 18, is a mirrored image of No. 9 with the lake on the right. The two finishing holes come together at the double green below the clubhouse.


With relatively easy opening par-4s, the nines are symmetrically pleasing though competitively ferocious and will likely provide for a dramatic finish to competitive professional golf in America this year.


For exactly the same reasons, Greg Norman, the Tour Professional at Grand Cypress at the time chose to host the first five years of his Shark Shootout beginning in 1986.


There was only one foursome that first year and what a foursome it was!


The King of Golf, Arnold Palmer and three players who won Majors that year- Jack Nicklaus, Raymond Floyd and the host himself.


Palmer, at that time, had already won five more Majors on the Champions Tour to go along with his original seven. Mr. Palmer, as we know him now, would win for the final time two years later at the 1988 Crestar Classic.


Nicklaus, of course, won that memorable Masters at the age of 46.


Floyd won his fourth and final Major in the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.


Norman won the first of his two Open championships, strangely his only two Majors, in 1986. After a second round 63 he ran away from the field and won by five strokes at Turnberry.


There could not have been a grander foursome for the debut of Grand Cypress with the world of golf watching.


Maybe that is how Cypress came to be so Grand?


In 1990 the world watched again as Grand Cypress played host to the World Cup of Golf.


American Hall of Famer Payne Stewart won the individual title while Bernard Langer and Torsten Giedeon won the team title for Germany.


The LPGA Tournament of Champions came into existence at Grand Cypress starting in 1994. As the name implies it was a limited field event with only winners of an LPGA event from the previous four years and active Hall of Fame members in the field.


Winners at Grand Cypress include Dottie Pepper, Dawn Coe-Jones and Liselotte "Lotta" Neumann.


Interesting enough the future Hall-of-Famers got beat and finished second each year with Pepper over Nancy Lopez, Coe-Jones over Beth Daniel and Neumann over Karrie Webb.


LPGA Major Champion Kelly Robbins won back-to-back regular season events on the North-South in 1998 and 1999.


The last to win an LPGA event at Grand Cypress was the youngest ever to be inducted into the World Golf Hall-of-Fame and a pioneer of Korean golfers on the LPGA Tour- Sir Re Pak.


In the first event of the 2001 LPGA season Pak shot a course record tying 64 in the final round to win for the ninth time in a 25-win career.


It is most fitting that almost 10 years later the world will once again be watching the women of golf compete in the final event of the season and the LPGA's very own Championship.


The choice of the North-South Course at the Grand Cypress Golf Resort is a perfect selection by the LPGA for the Grand Finale of the 2010 season.


If not only for the golf course and its legacy but as LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan noted recently- Orlando is home to 50 LPGA golfers and the LPGA's 10-year broadcast partner, The Golf Channel.


There is no doubt the 2010 LPGA Championship will add to the intrigue and legacy of Grand Cypress.


There is a lot on the line, a lot to be determined at the season's end.


The most-coveted awards on the LPGA Tour are up for grabs- the LPGA Money Title, the Vare Trophy (lowest scoring average) and the Rolex Player of the Year.


Jiyai Shin is trying to win back-to-back Money Titles. She has won twice this season and has an incredible 12 Top-5 finishes.


Na Yeon Choi has won twice herself, has 14 Top-10 finishes and holds a slim lead over Shin.


Choi also holds the lead for the Vare Trophy with an average score of 69.77 strokes per round.

Cristie Kerr is only 0.09 higher and Suzanne Pettersen (69.92) and Shin (69.95) are within reach. Any of those four players with a strong four round performance at Grand Cypress will likely bring the trophy home.


Since Lorena Ochoa retired in May, the No. 1 spot for Rolex Player of the Year has been occupied by Shin, Kerr and Ai Miyazato. Amongst the three players the leader has changed nine times. Pettersen, Choi and Yani Tseng could conceivably win the top award as well.


Perhaps the strongest field of the year will be competing to be called the 2010 LPGA Champion as well.


Tune in one way or another to capture the excitement of the 2010 LPGA Championship on the North-South Course at Grand Cypress Golf Resort.


If you have the opportunity play, it sometime soon whatever the modern direction- East, North or South or let Jack take you back to the roots of the game of golf.


Or be really inspired and play all 45 holes of Grand Cypress.




To read more articles in Golf Writer Andy Reistetter's exclusive "Play-Write" series go to the following links:


1.   Daniel Island Club (Charleston, SC): Home of the Nationwide Tour Championship and the Charm of Charleston, South Carolina.



2.   St. Johns Golf & Country Club (St. Augustine, FL): On the Road to the PGA TOUR.



3.   TPC Four Seasons (Las Colinas, TX): Home of the HP Byron Nelson Classic.



4.   Cog Hill Dubsdread (Lemont, IL): Deserving of a Future U.S. Open.



5.   Greenbrier's Old White Course (White Sulphur Springs, W VA): A Charles Blair Macdonald Masterpiece enveloped with the essence of Slammin' Sammy Snead at America's Resort.



6.   Scioto Country Club (near Columbus, Ohio): Scioto CC: The Bridge from Jones to Nicklaus and Beyond.




Andy Reistetter is a freelance golf writer as well as a Broadcast Assistant for The Golf Channel and CBS Sports. He spends time on all four major American golf tours- the PGA TOUR, Champions, Nationwide and LPGA Tours.


Reistetter resides in Jacksonville Beach, Florida near the PGA TOUR headquarters and home of The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.


A lifetime golfer, Andy enjoys volunteering at the World Golf Hall of Fame and pursuing his passion for the game of golf and everything associated with it. He can be reached through his website www.MrHickoryGolf.net or by e-mailing him to AndyReistetter@gmail.com


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