In case you hadn’t already heard, over the course of March and April we’ve been running an extremely exciting competition. Write On Par was your chance to win round-trip flights, 8 nights accommodation and a Trophy Club ticket to the 2017 US Open!
The contest officially closed last weekend and in this blog we’re announcing who our WINNER is!
We had hundreds of applicants, which made the decision tough, but there was one that stood out above the rest…
Meet our Write On Par, US Open on-course correspondant…
After Ritch got over the surprise of being chosen as our on-course correspondant, we chatted to him about his love of golf, experience on the green and what he’s looking forward to most about being sent to the 2017 US Open…
UG: So Ritch, thanks for being our on-course correspondant at the US Open!
Ritch: Thanks for picking me!
UG: You deserved it! Happy to have you on board… We’d love to introduce you to our followers, you up for answering a few questions?
Ritch: Fire away…
UG: Let’s start with some more general golf questions then, what handicap are you playing?
Ritch: My current handicap is 5, though I tell people it’s between my ears, as my brain often creates more problems on the course than my swing!
UG: Do you have a favorite course you’ve played on?
Ritch: It’s difficult to pick. I’ve played many courses designed by a variety of architects. My round at Prestwick, site of the first Open Championship, would make the list. I prefer courses that follow the natural lay of the land, rather than those where twists and turns are created by moving massive amounts of earth. To that end, of the courses I’ve played in the states, those at Bandon Dunes in Oregon probably rank as my favorite.
UG: Which pros (if any) are your golfing inspiration?
Ritch: Like many my age, I started watching golf around the age of 10/ 11. At that time, of course, Arnold Palmer was the star. I suppose I trace the spark that lit my fire to play golf back to the 1962 US Open playoff between Palmer and Nicklaus. The contrasting styles of play was evident, even to someone of my age at the time. After that tournament I was dedicated to getting myself on the golf course.
UG: Now, I want to talk a little more about the contest. What made you enter Write On Par, what’s special about the US Open?
Ritch: I entered the contest for the same reason many others probably did, the opportunity to attend a major championship. I had no expectations of winning, but here I am. The US Open is special because it’s our national championship and it’s open to anyone who can qualify, whether that be professional or amateur. Certainly there are restrictions based on handicap but if I could get my handicap down to the required level, I would take a shot at qualifying!
UG: What are you most excited about?
Ritch: I think some of the excitement is being selected based on an outsider’s perception of my writing ability and having the opportunity to test it on a larger stage. I also relish the opportunity to see the world’s best players tested on what, I’m sure, will be an extremely challenging course.
UG: Who’re you going to have your eye on whilst you’re there?
Ritch: I will definitely try to follow some of the new, young players that I haven’t had the opportunity to see play in person, people like Jordan Speith, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson (the defending champ) and Phil Mikelson. I’ll also seek out some of the amateurs and those who might be described as dark horses, to see how they fare in the test.
UG: What does being our Write On Par winner mean to you?
Ritch: The opportunity to see the national championship in person is one that will be everlasting. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the Augusta National and Open Championship in the past and I didn’t think I’d get the chance to go again so this trip will add to my list of treasured golf moments. I plan to take in as much as I can, enjoy the golf to the fullest and make a heartfelt attempt to translate the excitement and joy into words for whoever is reading.
UG: Ritch, it’s been a pleasure. You’re a very gracious winner, which is just part of the reason we picked you. Do you have any last comments for our fans?
Ritch: The USGA has, in past years, been criticized by some for seeming to want to protect par at all costs when setting up the Open course. This has led to some extreme competition conditions in past years. My dream would be to see something similar to what we saw at last year’s Open Championship: Stenson and Mikelson firing back and forth at each other and shooting lights-out scores. It was magnificent golf to watch. While it will be an exciting week of golf regardless, a final round like that would be an amazing finish to a grand week.
UG: Thanks Ritch, we can’t wait to hear about your time there!
So, that’s Ritch, a pretty great guy wouldn’t you agree? We sure think so!
The next time you’ll hear from him is at the US Open where he’ll be reporting directly to you – our UG patrons – on exactly what’s going down on the green.
In the mean time, why not check out a preview of our new podcast, Play Your Way? The first official episode is coming soon so subscribe to the channel and be the first to know when it lands!