WGT invited World Golf Tour players to contribute this blog post. As the 2011 Virtual Ketel One Cup Champion, PGAbound67 won a trip for four to play in the Ketel One Cup National Tournament at TPC Sawgrass. PGAbound67 invited three WGT friends to join him on the trip: bulfrog2004, BolloxInBruges, and mrenn29. What an amazing example of the power of the WGT community and of the Deviations Country Club!
Let me start off by giving a big thank you to WGT and Ketel One. We had an amazing time and the memories will last forever. We arrived at the TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse on Friday night for the welcome reception. We were greeted by two Ketel One representatives, who gave us a brief rundown of the events for the weekend – brunch at the clubhouse, followed by a 1:30 P.M. start to the tournament, and then dinner and an awards ceremony directly afterwards. When I got the itinerary, it said there would be a meet and greet with a “golf legend.” I had to ask myself – what classifies one as a “legend”? No, not a 61 average and countless ranked rounds, a real life legend…..I could only think of a few people who are still alive that I'd call a real life legend of golf.
We didn't have to wait long to find out who it was, the Ketel One representative came over to our table with a few welcoming gifts, including a brand new TaylorMade golf bag embroidered with the Ketel One logo, Adidas golf shirts with Ketel One Cup logos, an official yardage book of the course, and a Ketel One Golf flag, signed by the legend we would meet the following night.....Arnold Palmer!
During a tour of the massive TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse, we saw clubs from past champions – a wedge from Tiger Woods, Fred Funk's winning putter, KJ Choi's driver, Stephen Ames' driver. Directly across is The President's Cup Library, which has the President's Cup itself, an awesome sight to see. We called it a night and checked into our hotel room – a suite at the Sawgrass Marriott that certainly did not disappoint.
Saturday morning, the range was setup with Ketel One hitting stations, along with a TaylorMade representative with demo clubs for us to try out. We were greeted with personalized TPC Sawgrass bag tags with our names engraved in them. These were the real deal, all metal with a cutout of the famous 17th hole. Just before teeing off, Fred Funk stepped onto the range and wished us luck. We also caught a glimpse of Natalie Gulbis on the far side of the range doing a photo shoot for her sponsor. And, then the tournament commenced.
Let me start off by first thanking PGAbound67 (Dan) for the invitation to play. Without his victory none of this would have been possible. So thanks for your 57 Dan! Trying to fall asleep Thursday night was damn near impossible, I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve except this time Santa was bringing me a trip to TPC Sawgrass and a round with three of the greatest players on WGT. I would like to thank Ed, Alison, Whitney, and the rest of the Ketel One team. They put on one of the greatest tournaments I have had an opportunity to take part in. To say Ketel One treated us like royalty would be an understatement. Truly, a first class tournament ran by a first class group!
First off, thanks to Dan for inviting the three of us. It was a pleasure to be invited. I normally don’t fly across the country for a 36-hour stay, but this was a chance to play a world famous golf course. Ketel One went above and beyond my expectations when it came to hospitality. Meeting Arnold Palmer and Fred Funk was unbelievable. The course was in immaculate shape considering they just had a tournament there the week before. Once we teed off, it was a round full of memories – from the first tee to the last putt. Each of us contributed to a great score in a shamble format. Bottom line – I had a blast! Playing real golf with fellow country club members and being able to do it on a course like that is priceless! Thanks to Dan and especially Ketel One!
Like Mike and Tad, I would also like to thank Dan for the great opportunity to meet up with some fellow country club members and play golf. The hospitality that Ketel One and the TPC staff gave us was absolutely top notch. We were all amazed at the opportunity to meet Arnold Palmer and Fred Funk.
The golf action was great – having a chance to get a true feel for the course that we all watch every year during the Players. We all hit some quality shots throughout the day. Mike's shot on 17 was the highlight of the day, it landed about 4 feet past the hole and spun back, stopping about 8 inches short of a hole in one. Tad won the longest drive contest and got a brand new R11 driver for his efforts. Sam's hybrid from 225 yards out on 9 that ended about 25 feet short of the hole was one of his best. For me, the 6i on 8 to 7 feet for a birdie. After all was said and done, we came in 3rd place at -31, each taking home $250 gift cards from TaylorMade! Thanks again to Ketel One for running an amazing tournament. Will certainly be looking forward to the next event on WGT sponsored by Ketel One!
Watch this amazing shot on #17 by Mrenn29!