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Junior champions finish their Ryder Week at Medinah

By STEPHEN MOSKAL, PGA   |   Oct. 1, 2012 at 10:08 AM   |   Comments

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"I am very impressed by the discipline, experience and integrity that these kids showed during the Junior Ryder Cup. They represent all that is good in the game of golf," said Roger Warren, the American team captain of the Junior Cup team.

As a past president of the PGA of America, Mr. Warren has seen a lot of golf and a lot of golfers.

In an exclusive interview, Warren expressed how difficult it was to select seven players as captain's picks to complete his team as the pool from which he had to choose was filled with amazing young players. "Without having had the opportunity to watch all of the kids play, I think that I made the right decisions."

It would be difficult to disagree, as the team of American teens prevailed for a third straight time. The U.S. win gave the American teams the edge in the record books by one victory. After this eighth edition of the Junior Ryder Cup, the U.S has won four to the Europeans three, with one tie. The next match is set for 2014 and will be played at Blairgowrie Golf Club near Gleneagles, the site of the 2014 Ryder Cup.

As one might imagine, the Junior Ryder Cup mirrors the format of the Ryder Cup. The U.S. team automatically qualifies the winners and runner-ups in both the PGA Junior and the USGA Junior Championships from both the boys and girls divisions. The rest of the team is selected by the captain.

Warren did not have a lot of time to spend with his team in preparation for the matches, as he met the full team on Saturday before the contest began. They practiced for a couple of days together and then it was time to play.

The juniors had the opportunity to play out their Ryder week at another Chicago area course that has itself seen much championship golf -- Olympia Fields. Having hosted four major championships, Olympia Fields is no pushover and the kids played it as if it were set up for a major. The results were amazing.

"I was amazed by the talent that they showed," commented Warren on players from both the European and American players. The American team was comprised of juniors from seven states, with California producing five of the players. The European team was made up of juniors from eight countries.

The week was capped off by a friendship match that was played as a four-player best ball with six groups teeing off in front of a Ryder Cup crowd at Medinah on Wednesday. The winning group shot a score of 4 under par, which is nothing short of amazing considering that the boys played from the same tees as Tiger and Rory are playing all week. I personally witnessed some of the most amazing shots that I have seen from any golfer there, and they are only high school sophomores and juniors.

This might not be much of a surprise to those who have followed the Junior Ryder Cup in the past, as present Ryder Cuppers Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Hunter Mahan also played in the event when they were juniors.

Warren expressed his enthusiasm about the event and some regret that it was over. Unfortunately for him, he won't be back as captain in 2014, as the position is granted in rotation to past presidents of the PGA.

According to Warren, it will be no surprise if he finds himself introducing a player or two from his 2012 Junior Ryder Cup team in a future Ryder Cup.

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Stephen Moskal is currently the Director of Instruction for Golf Swing Exchange, an innovative on-line coaching platform whose goal is to revolutionize the ability for people to learn golf. A former professional golfer in Europe, Moskal turned pro in 1993 as a member of the French National Circuit and also spent time on the United Kingdom Mastercard Tour and the European Challenge Tour. Following a seven-year professional career, Moskal turned to teaching full-time in 1999. A 1990 graduate of Furman University with a degree in philosophy, Moskal was a four year letter winner with the Paladins and was a member of the academic honor roll. Most recently, Stephen studied under Top 100 instructor Mitchell Spearman, best known for working with major champions Nick Faldo and Ian Baker Finch. Stephen is also the Head Golf Coach at Marymount University in Arlington, VA.

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(United Press International's Commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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