PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A group of 81 juniors were in the audience for a memorable Captains' Clinic from two legends of the game; past U.S. Ryder Cup Captains Billy Casper and Dow Finsterwald.
The duo helped provide feedback on individual golf swings and took questions on the practice range at the PGA Center for Learning and Performance.
The juniors were on site for the Ryder Cup Junior Academy, which runs through Sunday, and offers a full week of golf instruction and Ryder Cup-style match play to selected juniors from across the country.
Finsterwald, the 1958 PGA Champion; and Casper, a World Golf Hall of Fame member and three-time major champion, each took turns during the clinic to teach the students about mental and physical aspects of the game, overall golf management and keys to success on the golf course.
Casper, the victorious 1979 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain, made his second consecutive appearance at the Academy, recalling his experience of a year ago.
"Each one of the players, both last year and this year, have such great talent. We just want to help the small amount we can," said Casper. "If there is one thing we can show them, or help them improve, it will all be worth it. It is so great to be here again."
Finsterwald, the victorious 1977 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain, was looking forward to his return and excited to see a new group of juniors.
"If you keep working and are determined to be the best you can be, the rest will take of itself," said Finsterwald during the hour-long Clinic. "You can't think about the result of a shot or an individual tournament.
"Each of one you here have put a lot of hard work and practice into getting better and when a tournament starts, you just have to go out there and do it."
The Academy, developed in response to recommendations made by past United States Ryder Cup Captains, was designed to provide aspiring junior golfers, an elite player-development experience with focus on competing in match-play and stroke-play formats.
As part of the 2010 United States Ryder Cup Team's outreach commitment, which has already impacted U.S-based organizations and students at colleges and universities nationwide, the team designated $50,000 each to create and support the Ryder Cup Junior Academy.
Throughout the week, the junior participants will be working on all aspects of golf, including full-swing, chipping, putting, iron play, club fitting and course management. They will also learn about specific strategies when competing in match play formats.
Each of the 41 PGA Sections nationwide were given the opportunity to nominate one boy and one girl each, with the remainder of the juniors selected through an at-large process. Also receiving invitations were boy and girl participants from the Notah Begay III Foundation, Lorena Ochoa Golf Foundation, Bill Dickey Scholarship Association, Pan-American Golf Association, and the AJGA Ace Grant Program.
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