Hurricane Ike blows into the Midwest: Ryder Cup host Valhalla damaged, power out in Louisville - golf writers gut it out
FRENCH LICK, Ind. – What’s left of Hurricane Ike unleashed it’s wrath on the Midwest today. I was in southern Indiana today at the French Lick Resort for a media event, where the storm made it’s presence. High winds knocked down trees blocking the entrance to the hotel and cut power all afternoon (not in the casino of course, that was going strong). Local radio reported a turned semi truck on the highway. Many writers showed up to the media event late due to blocked roads heading to the resort.
One writer canceled on the media event here (wimp). Even Pete Dye, who is unveiling his new golf course to the media in the morning, made the trip and tonight’s meet-and-greet.
About an hour down the road from French Lick is Louisville, hoping to put it’s best foot forward for the Ryder Cup this week. Reports are that currently over half of the city is without power and Valhalla Golf Club is said to have suffered minor damage. Trees are down and a TV tower fell onto the 12th green. U.S. Captain Paul Azinger did his share to alter the course set up leading up to this weekend’s matches, but Mother Nature seems eager to play it’s part this week. My theory is that the heavens are pissed he passed over Rocco Mediate for a captain’s pick and have chosen to turn his course upside down.
Believe it or not, a group of writers decided to head out this morning and play the Donald Ross Course at the resort before it got “really bad".
The winds got pretty ridiculous by the back nine. One of my playing partners was knocked on his keister as he was trying to rake a sand trap. Balls were rolling around on the green - and even in traps, minutes after they had initially settled. As we played up the 17th hole, we saw a tree down on the right side - then another one fell minutes later. An ornamental wreath flew across the course and next to our golf cart from a cemetery at least 500 yards away. The iron gate at the club’s entrance had to be rigged with giant stones at it’s base to keep from flying all over.
The Ross Course is a very difficult golf course on a calm day. The greens are befuddling and high grass, so thick balls are certainly lost in it, line many of the holes. In this morning’s junk I shot a 95 and only lost one ball. I consider it one of my better rounds of the year, given the circumstances.
Check back in to WorldGolf.com for more on the revitalized French Lick Resort and the Ryder Cup Matches this weekend.
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