The PGA Champioship
7,501 yards – Par 72
Quaker Ridge Golf Club
Previous majors: He’s played in the PGA Championship in four previous years, and one U.S. Open.
Tee time: 6:45 a.m. Thursday and 12 p.m. Friday
“I have played a lot of golf with Brian, including at Whistling Straits a few weeks ago, and he is a great putter, a great ball-striker. He never seems to get down on himself and is a real grinder.” – Quaker Ridge president Marc Friedman.
Tools of the trade
Driver: TaylorMade JetSpeed 10.5-degrees; 3-wood: TaylorMade SLDR 15-degrees; Hybrid: TaylorMade SLDR 19-degrees; Irons 4-PW: TaylorMade RSI 2; Wedges: TaylorMade EF Spin 51-, 55- 60-degrees. Putter: TaylorMade Ghost Tour; Ball: TaylorMade Tour Preferred X.
Q & A
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from a Quaker Ridge member? “Bill Richter told me, “Don’t have a goal to make the cut, dream bigger!”
What did you do to prepare for the PGA Championship? “You have to attack Whistling Straits very carefully. You have to have the correct angles into the hole locations, especially on the par 5s. I’ve mostly been making sure my members are happy. If work is going well, I’m fine. Other than that, I’ve just been trying to play more and get my distances correct with my wedges.”
Do you get nervous thinking about the week? “Not too much. Recently I did have a dream about playing in the PGA Championship with spectators all over the fairway and I could not hit the shot!”
What’s the best thing about playing in the PGA Championship? “There is no one best thing, all of it is so great. The condition of the course, the way the players are treated and the excitement of taking advantage of the opportunity. And you are now next to the people you see so often on television, which is definitely cool.”
Do you allow yourself to dream big? “Always but with humility. I hope to stay focused and make clear decisions on the course.”
What’s it like standing on the first tee of a major championship? “It’s still just golf, but with a lot of people watching on a really hard course. I love that feeling and look forward to it.”
Winged Foot Golf Club
Previous majors: He played in one previous PGA Championship, making the cut at Hazeltine National in 2009.
Tee time: 6:55 a.m. Thursday and 12:10 p.m. Friday
“Grant is solid. It’s truly amazing how these club pros spend their days on the lesson tee, looking at our swings, they play so infrequently and to be able to score is truly amazing. Grant is very special. He is extremely competitive and has shown it in his victories over the last two years. He’s got his game under control and is certainly somebody to watch in this tournament.” – Winged Foot president John Schneider
Tools of the trade
Driver: TaylorMade SLDR 12-degrees; 3-wood: TaylorMade AeroBurner 15-degrees; 5-wood: TaylorMade AeroBurner 18-degrees; Hybrid: Adams Red 20-degrees. Irons 4-PW: TaylorMade MB; Wedges: TaylorMade EF 54- and 60-degrees. Putter: Scotty Cameron belly putter.Ball: TaylorMade Tour Preferred X.
Q & A
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from a Winged Foot member? “Everybody is just really supportive and want me to make sure that I enjoy the experience and enjoy the week.”
What did you do to prepare for the PGA Championship? “I was able to go up and get two early practice rounds in two weeks ago. I think one key is going to be driving the ball well, so I’ve worked more lately with my driver and 3-wood more than I normally would leading up to a tournament. I’ve also worked a ton on my lag putting. It’s a long golf course with big greens, so I’m trying to limit three-putts.”
Do you get nervous thinking about the week? “At this stage, and even the night before a tournament, it’s not nerves, there’s just a lot of excitement. Starting on Thursday, when I get up and get to the course, and probably until I play three or four holes, I’ll be very nervous just because of the opportunity the PGA Championship presents.”
What’s the best thing about playing in the PGA Championship? “The opportunity to share it with the membership that I work for and my friends and family.”
Do you allow yourself to dream big? “Always. The only way to achieve anything special and different is to set those goals. So the goals are there and it’s going to be fun to experience this week and possibly give myself an opportunity to achieve them.”
What’s it like standing on the first tee of a major championship? “It is surreal. I can remember in detail the first hole at Hazeltine. You’re nervous. You have a hard time swallowing. The golf club doesn’t feel right. You don’t feel right standing over the shot. I just remember somehow hitting my drive into the fairway and then some kind of skinny, not-very-good hybrid, short right. I short-sided myself. I said a little prayer, swung as hard as I could on a one-in-a-million flop shot that came out to within three feet. And then I was so nervous I couldn’t hold the putter and didn’t sniff hitting the hole.”
So there’s always been a friendly back-and-forth between the memberships at Winged Foot and Quaker Ridge. The clubs are situated on either side of Griffen Avenue, in Mamaroneck and Scarsdale, respectively. Both have A.W. Tillinghast gems that rank among the best courses in the country.
Back in 1947, Udo Reinach, a Quaker Ridge member who served as secretary for the Westchester Golf Association and later co-founded the organization’s Caddie Scholarship Fund, sent a personal note to legendary Winged Foot pro Claude Harmon along with his Westchester Open winnings.
“Why don’t you come over and play with me at a good course someday?” he wrote.
So there has to be a little side action here, right?
“I do not have any bets as of yet but my window is open,” Friedman said.
“Nope, there’s a respect we have for each other,” Schneider said. “Both clubs have great Tillinghast courses. We just happen to have two of them.”