The 18th annual Ryder cup which features the 12 best players from St. Louis and Columbia was contested on 2 very challenging disc golf courses in Vichy, Missouri on Saturday, October 29th. This would be the first time this event would be held on a neutral site in 6 years. For the first 11 years, this event was held in Foristell, Missouri, where Professional Greens Keeper Matt Seifert carved 9 challenging and beautiful holes out of 4.5 acres of trees on a gently rolling hillside.
Captains for this year’s event were Keith Amerson (Columbia) and David McCormack (St Louis). The first round format was best shot doubles, where 7 two-man teams competed against each other in match play style with three points per group at stake (one each for each of the front back and total) and 21 points all together. The round was played on the 8700ft par 72 Ozark Mountain course, which is regarded as one of the hardest courses in the world where the demand for throwing great shots starts at the hole one tee and does not let up until you putt out on the 18th green.
Columbia jumped out to a rather large lead, 13 ½ to 7 ½, even though several Columbia teams had never seen the course before. Unfortunately for St. Louis, some dude forgot when the event was held and made no plans to attend, which caused a major shuffling of the St. Louis teams. Luckily, Roger Reye’s son Tommy was there to fill the last spot, which I’m sure was a great experience for him, but not quite a replacement for that one dude who let the team down.
Down but certainly not out, St Louis was confident it would rebound during the head to head singles round, as now 42 total points were at stake. The event moved to the 5400ft par 54 Akita’s run course, which was recently re-worked on a few holes due to some logging and the course played a little easier than in the past. When playing a par 3 style course, it can certainly become deuce or die, but on this particular course par can win any one of these holes. The per hole scoring spread on Akita’s Run makes this a great course for match play format.
This round featured several VERY close down to the wire matches as well as several lopsided ones and when all was said and done the singles round ended in a dead heat 21-21, giving the Columbia boys the cup in a 34 ½ to 28 ½ upset over the heavily favored St. Louis team.
‘Team play’ sets such a different tone to a disc golf event as pressure to perform for your city and team can make a 20 footer look like you have to send you disc through a mail slot in a door.
Celebrating a win as a team is also quite different than winning as a singles event, because sharing the spoils of a VICTORY with friends creates a sense of togetherness for a disc golf club and community, not to mention a rivalry with your cross- state or town club. Looking forward to next year and hoping the event will return to McCormack Farm, where plans are underway for a 3rd course called Spencer-Davis, it’s possible that this event could turn into a full weekend tourney.