#10 The Golf Tournaments

As we move forward to 2017, I wanted to take some time and reflect over the 6+ years I spent working for Brian Curley and Lee Schmidt. Most of my time was spent in China, living on the tropical island of Hainan and working on various projects throughout mainland China. I want to recap some of the activities and projects I worked on during this time.

Michael Phelps and Lorena Ochoa walking past the 10th tee

First up is having a front row seat to various golf tournaments hosted by the Mission Hills Group in Hainan and Shenzhen, China. We worked hard getting the Blackstone course up to shape and ready for its first tournament, a celebrity Pro-AM called The Star Trophy. In the lead up to the event, Greg Norman was brought on board as a consultant to help set up an event that had professionals from the LPGA and PGA tours competing against one another in a winner take all format. I accompanied Mr. Norman on a few visits to help ensure the course would prove fair for both sexes. Some minor tweaks were made and in the end, Lorena Ochoa came out on top over Colin Montgomery after a controversial ruling on the 17th hole. Ochoa walked away with $1.28 million, while Monty walked away empty handed.

The 18th Hole on the Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Haikou

The Blackstone course would play host to the 56th World Cup of Golf the following year and I would spend another Thanksgiving in China, instead of calling up hotels in search of a turkey dinner, I spent the night at Mission Hills and they played a fine host to the U.S. team and eventual winners, Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland. Camilo Villegas was also invited and after about 10-15 minutes of karaoke, they finally convinced him to sing happy birthday to one of the staff. Needless to say, I will never have a thanksgiving quite like that one.

On the bag and checking yardages into the par 3 8th.

On the bag and checking yardages into the par 3 8th.

In 2012 I would pick up the bag for the first time and serve as caddy for the future 2014 Ryder Cup Captain, Paul McGinley. It was my first time on the bag, ever, and all I had to do was keep up and shut up. Yao Ming also made a supersized appearance and I was grouped with the Brazilian football legend, Ronaldo in our second round pairing. The Blackstone course hosted one more event while I was still in China, a match between Tiger and Rory that turned into a chaotic scene as thousands of spectators stormed the fairways in search of a good spot to watch the next shot. The second and third courses at the resort played host to a few Ladies European tour events and I was able to squeeze in a few days to see the Schmidt-Curley/Olazabal designed course play host to the 2012 WGC Champions event in Shenzhen.

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