The Spirit Internnational - 2019 Preview

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T EXAS OCTOBER 2019 LINKS Get The Latest Texas Golf News at Alumni of The Spirit joined co-founder Corby Robertson, Jr. at Whispering Pines for The…
T EXAS OCTOBER 2019 LINKS Get The Latest Texas Golf News at Alumni of The Spirit joined co-founder Corby Robertson, Jr. at Whispering Pines for The Spirit Charity Challenge. Spirit alums have THE SPIRIT OF THE GAME won 23 majors and 650 pro titles On Nov. 7-9, golf’s rising stars from around the world will compete at Whispering Pines in the ninth playing of The Spirit International Hammer At Knight’s First In Memory U.S. Texas Texas Texas’ New Junior Walker Cup LPGA Victory of Big E Mid-Am Mid-Am Senior Am Tour Event Golf TALKIN’ GOLF with Charlie Epps Catch The Spirit of the game T he history around Whispering Pines is so interesting. Corby Robertson, an All-America football player at Texas in the mid-1960s, decided when he was in college that he and his good friend and teammate, All-America running back Chris Gilbert, would start a summer camp at Camp Olympia for kids of all ages to learn and have fun. Save Up to 65% on Golf Getaways at After that dream came true, Corby got the idea of having an ultimate golf tournament—the Olympics of amateur golf. Corby’s first step was to hire Chet Williams of Nicklaus Design to create Whispering Pines on a heavily-wooded, rolling site next door to Camp Olympia. Located about 90 minutes northeast of Houston in the town of Trinity, it quickly became the No. 1 course in the state and continues to climb up the list of America’s top 100 courses. Once he had a course that would provide a great venue to challenge the game’s rising stars from around the world, late President George H.W. Bush was instru- CHARLIE mental in helping Corby create The Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship. EPPS Since 2001, The Spirit has featured the top two men and top two women amateurs from 20 countries in a biennial Olympic-like event where a mutual love of the game is shared and lifelong friendships are created. And Camp Olympia provides a perfect Olympic-style village where players mix and mingle and participate in non-golf activities. Even though golf has since been added to the Olympics for the world’s top pro golfers, The Spirit remains the premier showcase for the world’s top amateurs. Spirit alumni have gone on to win over 650 professional titles, 23 major championships and 16 Olympic appearances. They include 14 PGA Tour winners, 23 European Tour winners, 21 LPGA Tour winners and 21 Ladies European Tour winners. I had the privilege of being the captain for Team USA that first year, which came less than two months after the 9/11 attack. It was so much fun, and such an honor. Robert Hamilton won the men’s individual gold medal that first year. It was also the world’s first introduction to a little girl from Mexico named Lorena Ochoa. She beat everybody at The Spirit and contin- ued to do it on the LPGA Tour on her way to the World Golf Hall of Fame. So, my hat is off to Corby Robertson and Chris Gilbert. They can look back over their lives and take satisfaction at reaching their goal of this event—inclusion. Where the spirit of the game binds players from all over the world, no matter what language they speak or how many miles separate their homeland. For golf fans, The Spirit offers an unprecedented chance to see the game’s best players of the future play the best course in Texas. Whispering Pines and The Spirit represent everything great about our game. What a gem, Corby, what a gem. Charlie Epps is executive director of the Learning Center for Golf at Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic and teaches at the Mike McGetrick Golf Academy at GC of Houston. Known as “The Golf Doctor,” Epps was inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame in 2012. He can be reached by email at or call him at 713-253-6245 to set up a trip to Casa de Campo that includes golf lessons at the Learning Center. “The Charlie Epps Show” can be heard Saturdays from 8-9 a.m. on 1560 AM radio in Houston and everywhere else on 8 / OCTOBER 2019 Texas Links The Home of Texas Golf THE SPIRIT In 2001, Lorena Ochoa won the women’s individual title and led Mexico to the international team and STAR-SPANGLED SPIRIT women’s gold medals. Austria won the men’s gold. INTERNATIONAL AMATEUR GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP November 7-9 Whispering Pines Golf Club Save Up to 65% on Golf Getaways at America’s top amateurs take on the world at Texas’ No. 1 Course Save Up to 65% on Golf Getaways at F or the world’s top amateurs, competing in The Spirit medals are awarded in five concurrent competitions. International Amateur Golf Championship has Team USA includes Cole Hammer, the world’s No. 2 become a launchpad for a lifetime of friendships amateur, U.S. Amateur champion Andy Ogletree, Austin’s and achievement on and off the golf course. Kaitlyn Papp and Wake Forest’s Emilia Migliaccio. The spirit of the game is what brings them together They will be captained by LPGA star Stacy Lewis. every two years from all over the world to compete on The Spirit is far more than a golf tournament. It’s a Texas’ No. 1 golf course. And it is the spirit of the game multi-sensory experience in an idyllic setting far removed that will continue to drive each contestant to make the from the problems of the real world. It is one part golf and world a better place. one part summer camp. These players will have the rest of On Nov. 7-9, Whispering Pines Golf Club in their lives to compete for money and world rankings. The Trinity will be front and center on the world golf stage Spirit is about national pride and a mutual love of the game. as it hosts 80 of the top amateurs from 20 countries in It brings people from around the world closer together. this biennial team competition. Camp Olympia, one of the nation’s most popular Every two years, each participating country selects summer camp destinations, is located right next door to its top two male and female amateurs to compete in 54 holes of four-ball stroke play. Gold, silver and bronze Continued on Page 18 700,000+ Impressions Each Month thru Print, Web & Email Texas Links OCTOBER 2019 / 15 THE SPIRIT In 2003, Paula Creamer and Brandt Snedeker led the U.S. to the team title by 16 over Australia. Ochoa, the 2003 LPGA rookie of the year, INTERNATIONAL AMATEUR GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP gave the opening address. November 7-9 Whispering Pines Golf Club PARTICIPATING COUNTRIES & PLAYERS Argentina Australia Canada Chinese Taipei Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira Jack Trent Players Have Hui Wen Chiu Jesus Montenegro Lachlan Barker Yet To Be Fei Chien Yang Ela Anacona Emily Mahar Announced Mako Shapiyate Macarena Aguilera Cassie Porter Wen-Yang Wang Save Up to 65% on Golf Getaways at Colombia Denmark France Ireland Valery Plata Pardo Louise Markvardsen Julien Sale Anna Foster Ivan Ramirez Frederik Kjettrup Adrien Pendaries Aine Donegan Daniel Faccini Anders Emil Ejlersen Pauline Roussin Bouchard Eanna Griffin Maria Jose Bohorquez Fonseca Natacha Høst Husted Candice Mahe Hugh Foley Italy Japan Korea Mexico Caterina Don Yuta Sugiura Hyeong-uk Park Aaron Terrazas Virginia Bossi Ryou Hisatsune Baekjun Kim Emilio Gonzalez Giovanni Manzoni Tsubasa Kajitani Yoon Ina Cory Lopez Pietro Bovari Sora Kamiya Jeong Hyun Lee Ana Isabel Gonzalez New Zealand Norway Scotland South Africa Wenyung Young Renate Grimstad Shannon McWilliam Zethu Myeki Momoka Kobori Dorthea Forbrigd Chloe Goadby Symone Henriques Matthew McLean Carl Meen Fosaas Jamie Stewart Samuel Simpson Tyler Wood William Buhl Sandy Scott Martin Vorster Spain Sweden Switzerland United States of America Gonzalo Leal Vincent Norrman Loic Ettlin Andy Ogletree Alejandro Aguilera Adam Blommé Robert Foley Cole Hammer Marta Perez Maja Stark Vanessa Knecht Emilia Migliaccio Elena Hualde Beatrice Wallin Elena Moosmann Kaitlyn Papp 16 / OCTOBER 2019 Texas Links The Best Deals at Texas’ Best Courses THE SPIRIT TEAM In 2005, England led after 36 holes and used an 8-under back nine in the final round to USA cruise pull away to an 8- stroke victory over USA and South Africa. INTERNATIONAL AMATEUR GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP S November 7-9 Whispering Pines Golf Club tacy Lewis knows a thing or youngest player to qualify for the two about international team 2015 U.S. Open. In 2018, he was Save Up to 65% on Golf Getaways at competitions. college golf’s freshman of the year In 2008, just before she with a 69.44 stroke average. launched a professional career that has earned her 12 LPGA victories, Andy Ogletree she became the first player to go The senior at Georgia Tech 5-0 in the Curtis Cup matches. She from Little Rock, Miss., has had also has represented the U.S. in a great summer with his victory four Solheim Cup matches. at the U.S. Amateur and Walker This year, the LPGA star from Cup and will feel right at home Houston will leverage her experi- in Trinity. Save Up to 65% on Golf Getaways at ence in team events as captain for He won the Class AA state title Team USA in The Spirit. five times at Union HS, including Lewis has selected Houston’s the 2016 title by 16 strokes. Last Captain Stacy Lewis selects four Cole Hammer, ranked No. 2 in the year, he compiled a 70.38 stroke world amateur rankings, to join average to earn All-America and U.S. Amateur champion Andy collegiate stars to represent USA All-ACC honors. Ogletree, ranked No. 27, for the Emilia Migliaccio Hammer men’s team. On the women’s team, Lewis has selected Wake Forest’s The junior at Wake Forest is Emilia Migliaccio, ranked No. 11 adept at team competition, having in the world, and Austin’s Kaitlyn led her school to the 2019 NCAA Papp, who is ranked No. 21. finals and also having played in “The Spirit is such a special the 2016 Junior Ryder Cup, 2017 event and I look forward to serving Junior Solheim Cup, 2018-19 as captain for Team USA,” Lewis Palmer Cups and 2019 Pan said. “With Cole, Andy, Emilia and American Games. Ogletree Kaitlyn, we have a great team that Papp She is ranked No. 9 in the I know will represent our country world coming off a season in well. It’s going to be a great week which she won All-America and of competition.” All-ACC honors with the fourth- Team USA is looking for its lowest scoring average in school sixth overall and fifth consecutive history (71.52). victory in the international team competition. Here’s a little more about the Team USA members. Kaitlyn Papp Texas Links readers have Cole Hammer Migliaccio followed Austin’s Kaitlynn Papp Texas Links readers have been following the shooting since her junior days at Lake Travis High School, where star that is Cole Hammer since his junior days at Kinkaid she led her team to three straight Class 6A state titles. High School in Houston. In 2016, she teamed with Hailee Cooper to win the Now a sophomore at the University of Texas, he has U.S. Women’s Four-Ball national title. She was 2017 risen to No. 2 in the world amateur rankings and received National High School Senior Girls Golf Athlete of the the 2019 McCormack Medal for college golf’s most out- Year. Now a junior at the University of Texas, she was standing player. After leading the Longhorns to a runner-up Big 12 Player and Freshman of Year in 2018 and first finish in the NCAA Championships, he helped the U.S. to team All-America in 2019. victory in the Walker Cup against Great Britain and Ireland She played in the 2018 and 2019 Palmer Cup, the 2019 at Royal Liverpool GC. Augusta National Women’s Amateur and was one of 26 At age 15 at Chambers Bay, he became the third- amateurs to play in the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open. 700,000+ Impressions Each Month thru Print, Web & Email Texas Links OCTOBER 2019 / 17 THE SPIRIT In 2007, Danny Willett helped England defend its Spirit title by two over the USA team of Peter Uihlein, Cory Whitsett, Tiffany Joh INTERNATIONAL AMATEUR GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP and Amanda Blumenhurst. November 7-9 Whispering Pines Golf Club Continued from page 15 experience. Corby Robertson has created a special atmosphere at Whispering Pines and serves as the which customs and traditions have International Village where players been developed in just a decade.” form lifetime friendships over Duke Butler, former director games, music, dancing, cookouts of the Houston Golf Association and sleeping in the close quarters who spent the last half of his of rustic camp cabins. career as the PGA Tour’s VP for In a sport steeped in tradition, Tournament Relations, captained it is difficult to create new ones. Team USA in 2005. He likens Robertson will be the first to attest Whispering Pines and The Spirit to that. After all, tradition requires to Augusta and the Masters. Save Up to 65% on Golf Getaways at a certain amount of history. “I view Corby and Chris as the But now in just its ninth Bob Jones and Clifford Roberts playing since its inception in Corby Robertson, Jr. of modern golf,” Butler said. 2001, The Spirit has moved from (right) and Chris Gilbert “You’ve created the best amateur a relatively unknow championship watch the action at The Spirit. golf tournament in the world, in into one whose star-studded alum- the same way Bobby and Clifford ni have gone on to win 23 major started a tournament called the championships and 650 pro events Augusta Invitational that became worldwide. known as the Masters. I guarantee Like the players who will be you their tournament didn’t have competing in November, The Spirit the beginning that Whispering International has come of age. Pines and The Spirit has had.” Just take a look at some of the That is all music to the ears names who passed through The of Robertson, a third-generation Spirit before they became house- energy giant who has spent most hold names in the golf world. They of his life paying it forward include Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa through philanthropy. and Maria Fassi, Australia’s Like Jones’ vision for Augusta Jason Day, Canada’s Brooke and the Masters, the relationship Henderson, England’s Danny between Whispering Pines and The Willett and Bronte Law, Spirit are inextricably tied. One Germany’s Martin Kaymer, wouldn’t exist without the other. Italy’s Francesco and Edoardo Three decades after Robertson Molinari, Norway’s Viktor and co-founder Chris Gilbert, Hovland, South Africa’s Charl both All-America football players Schwartzel Taiwan’s Yani Tseng, at Texas, first created Camp and the USA’s Jordan Spieth, Olympia in 1968, they stumbled Paula Creamer, Brandt into the idea of creating a golf Snedeker and Lexi Thompson. course on adjacent land. “The Spirit is unique among A tree beetle problem on his the high-profile international team 560 acres of forest along the north competitions in being played at a shore of Lake Livingston led them fixed site rather than rotating to harvest some trees before the venues,” says longtime USGA beetles killed them. But while they executive director David Fay, were at it, they chose to have some who captained Team USA in 2011. fun by routing a few golf holes. “Whispering Pines is more than an outstanding course—it’s an Continued on page 20 18 / OCTOBER 2019 Texas Links The Best Deals at Texas’ Best Courses THE SPIRIT In 2009, Paula Creamer captained a USA team that included Jordan Spieth, Ben Martin, Lexi Thompson and Jennifer Johnson to a four- STEPPING STONE shot victory over Korea. INTERNATIONAL AMATEUR GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP November 7-9 Whispering Pines Golf Club TO GREATNESS Spieth Ochoa Save Up to 65% on Golf Getaways at Day Thompson There is no doubt The Spirit International has accomplished its mission of celebrating the world’s best amateur golfers while creating lifelong friendships on and off the golf course through the spirit of the game. Playing in The Spirit has become an important stepping stone on the career path of past participants as many of them have gone on to great achievements on their respective pro tours around the world. Kaymer 23 Major Championship Winners Na Yeon Choi Hyo-Joo Kim Jordan Spieth 2003 U.S. Women’s Open 2011 Evian Championship 2015 Masters 2015 U.S. Open Paula Creamer Pernilla Lindberg 2017 British Open 2010 U.S. Women’s Open 2005 ANA Inspiration Francesco Molinari Danny Willett Jason Day 2018 British Open 2016 Masters 2015 PGA Championship Henderson Hannah Green Lorena Ochoa Lexi Thompson Creamer 2019 Women’s PGA 2007 Women’s British Open 2014 Kraft Nabisco 2008 Kraft Nabisco Yani Tseng Brooke Henderson 2016 Women’s PGA Charl Schwartzel 2008 McDonald’s LPGA 2011 Masters 2010 Kraft Nabisco Martin Kaymer 2010 Women’s British Open 2010 PGA Championship 2011 LPGA Championship 2014 U.S. Open 2011 Women’s British Open Over 650 Professional Victories Around The World Schwartzel Spirit alumni have gone on to win more than 650 titles in professional golf tours around the world. Lorena Ochoa (30) Bernd Wiesberger (8) Antti Ahokas (5) Steven Jeppesen (3) Caroline Masson (2) Pernilla Lindberg (1) Yani Tseng (27) Mark Haastrup (7) Minea Blomqvist (5) Andrew McArthur (3) Michelle Koh (2) Knut Borsheim (1) Martin Kaymer (23) Benjamin Hebert (7) Juvic Pagunsan (5) Alan Wagner (3) Floris De Vries (2) Line Vedel Hansen (1) Jason Day (16) Danny Willett (6) Alexander Knappe (5) Kylie Walker (3) Felicity Johnson (2) Violeta Retamoza (1) Charl Schwartzel (15) Nick Flanagan (6) Matteo Del Podio (5) Jorge Valdes (3) Anne-Lise Caudal (2) Joel Stalter (1) Hyo-Joo Kim (15) Phillipe Lima (6) Matteo Manassero (4) Rick Kulacz (3) David Vanegas (2) Paul Barjon (1) Na Young Choi (15) Andrea Pavan (6) Ben Martin (4) Cheng-Tsung Pan (3) Paul Howard (2) Zuzana Kamasova (1) Jordan Spieth (14) Casey Wittenberg (6) Dylan Frittelli (4) Marcelo Rozo (3) Holly Cliburn (2) Klara Spilkova (1) Lexi Thompson (14) Jessica Korda (5) Joo-Mi Kim (4) Alexandre Kaleka (3) James Lepp (2) Gary Boyd (1) Brooke Henderson (14) Ross Fisher (5) Seung Yul Noh (4) Gary Stal (3) Bettina Hauert (2) Lauren Taylor (1) Brandt Snedeker (13) Ashleigh Simon (5) Bi-O Kim (4) Si-Woo Kim (3) Yih-Shin Chan (2) Meghan MacLaren (1) Sei-Young Kim (12) Thomas Pieters (5) Nanna Madsen (4) Lydia Hall (3) Jamie Lovemark (2) Maria Jose Uribe (1) Francesco Molinari (10) Minea Blomqvist (5) Clement Sordet (4) Marcel Schneider (3) Tiffany Joh (2) Thomas Detry (1) Edoardo Molinari (10) Hye-Jin Choi (5) Kyu-Jung Baek (4) Roppe Kakko (3) Jordan Niebrugge (2) Max Kieffer (1) Julien Etulain (10) Haydn Porteous (5) Gavin Green (4) Madelene Sagstrom (3) Oscar Fraustro (2) Oliver Fisher (1) George Coetzee (10) Ashleigh Simon-Buhai (5) Wil Besseling (4) Daniela Holmqvist (2) Alejandra Llaneza (2) Tze Jean Chua (1) Jens Dantorp (10) Michael Sim (5) Min-Kyu Kim (4) Naree Wongluekiet (2) Sebastain Vazquez (2) Kelly Kraft (1) Joost Luiten (9) Martin Wiegele (5) MacKenzie Hughes (3) Peter Uihlein (2) Nick Taylor (1) Austin Ernst (1) Marianne Skarpnord (9) Lucas Bjerregaard (5) Charley Hull (3) Scottie Scheffler (2) Jennifer Johnson (1) Hannah O’Sullivan (1) Hee Young Park (9) Gary Wolstenholme (5) Carlos Ortiz (3) Dewi Schreefel (2) Marjet van der Graaf (1) 700,000+ Impressions Each Month thru Print, Web & Email Texas Links OCTOBER 2019 / 19 THE SPIRIT In 2011, USA defended its title over Argentina and Mexico. Nathan Smith and Kelly Kraft won the men’s gold. Korea won the women’s INTERNATIONAL AMATEUR GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP gold over Argentina and USA. November 7-9 Whispering Pines Golf Club Save Up to 65% on Golf Getaways at Continued from page 18 course would require a big investment. Before they jumped down the rabbit hole, Robertson knew the land well from his Robertson began to wonder. He didn’t want to hunting trips. And he knew the basics of simply create another great golf course. He hole routing from working with architect wanted to create an event that would move the Pete Dye when Austin CC built its new game forward. That’s when he got the idea for course in the mid-80s. And he has played 30 an Olympics of golf, since golf had not been or 40 of America’s top courses—in
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