With millions of players competing in the 2012 Virtual U.S. Open on World Golf Tour, we wanted to take a closer look to get a better idea of who some of these fierce competitors really are – on and off the virtual golf course.
Today's spotlight is on LVIETRI, a Level 97 Legend player who averages 60 strokeplay and has been a WGT member since May 2009.
What's the easiest hole on the virtual Olympic Club course, and why?
A: #7, the short par 4. With the wind and a good drive, it sets you up for a shot at eagle (which are hard to come by on this course). Into the wind, lay it up and just wedge it close...it's the first true birdie hole on the course.
What's the hardest shot on virtual Olympic, and why?
A: To me, the hardest shot on this course is the very first one. For a decent shot at a birdie you have to carry it through the tree – and I swear those leaves blow in the wind because you have to hit it and pray it goes through without getting knocked down. That shot sets the tone for the entire round.
If you won the Virtual U.S. Open grand prize, who would you take as your guest to the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion?
A: First off, I thank WGT for opening it up to 1 random person to be selected because even though I did qualify for the last 4 big tournaments, Olympic has me baffled. So the only way I'll win is in the random lottery. But if I did win, I'm sure I would ask one of the guys from our WGT Country Club who I've gotten to know very well and have met in person. This is a WGT thing why not share the wealth?
What is your favorite WGT course to play?
A: I like Bethpage... It's the course that I started to play on during the Virtual Open. Also, I don't live too far from there and have played it once after I started playing it on WGT. It's very cool to know every hole on a course when you actually get on it, from playing it virtually. By the way – I'll never play it again...you have to actually walk!!!!!
What type of games do you like to play on WGT?
A: First and foremost, I'm a Match Play guy. I just love the 1 on 1 action. For Credits or not for Credits, it doesn't matter, that's how you get to know people in this virtual world that WGT has created. I also love Skins for cash, but 4 player games just take a long time to play. I don't have the patience, but that's why Alt Shot is a good alternative.
What piece of WGT virtual equipment could you not live without?
A: That Cleveland 64 degree, Level 80 wedge is like a savior around (and even sometimes on) the greens. Saves par for me 95% of the time when I miss the GIR. I even went and bought one in real life, but it must be defective because it doesn't work the same way... I use it to hold up the hood of my car when I change the oil.
What is your job in the real world?
A: I'm very fortunate to have just celebrated my 35th year with IBM. Good work which I enjoy. Go Big Blue!
What are your hobbies besides WGT?
A: I play real golf at least 1 time a week in season, and I do go on a few golf weekends here and there. I have my handicap up to 18 now...a real "money maker." Other than that I'm really very boring: I read a lot (at least a book a week) and now I spend as much time as I can with my 2 grandkids... I am enjoying watching them grow up (they are 4 and 2). I guess I missed a lot of my own kids growing up when I was travelling a lot with IBM years ago so this is a treat for me.
Any other "fun facts" that you'd like to share?
A: If you haven't guessed by now I'm a staunch supporter of WGT. I think from a social media perspective "for golfers" this is about as good as it can get. The folks in our little Country Club have become more than just playing partners – a lot of us are real friends who support each other in real life as best we can, help each other get through some tough times, and of course get together whenever we can to play real golf. We have even branched out and have fantasy football leagues, sports betting pools and virtual poker games. You can't beat it.
My FIRST three years on WGT have been more fun than I could ask for, thanks to both the game and the community. I hope the next 10 are just as much fun.