The 2012 Ryder Cup might just be the biggest golf event ever conducted. When you take into account the international media coverage, the corporate villas that line the fairways, the energy of fans at the practice rounds and the demand for limited tickets, the growth is staggering.
In fact, Mark Wilson, CGCS who hosted the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla Golf Club, said his first Ryder Cup had little to no fanfare at all. “I remember as a college student going to Laurel Valley in 1975. You had some of the top players in the world. I was watching from some small bleachers on the driving range with a handful of other people. I don’t even thing they had stands on the course. It’s a big deal now, that’s for sure.”
The responsibility of coordinating it all falls on the shoulders of Mike Belot (pictured left). The title of 2012 Ryder Cup Director says it all, and yet says nothing. He is in charge of making sure every aspect of the event comes together. Belot is a vagabond of sorts. He has been involved in helping to run various PGA of America events since 2002, necessitating a move every two or three years. He has been in Chicago prepping for the Ryder Cup since November 2009.
“It took four months to build the structures and it will take another two or three to get it torn down and moved out,” the Kohler, Wisc., native said. Hosting it in Chicago is another factor. "It has a big city, big event atmosphere.”
Belot’s work has put him up close and personal with many GCSAA members, whom he says have been “crucial” to the success of the events at which he has worked. He notes a “can-do attitude” and a commitment to being good team members as the characteristics of golf course superintendents. As for Curtis Tyrrell, CGCS, MG, the host superintendent at Medinah for this year’s Ryder Cup, Belot gushes with praise.
“Curtis and his staff have been great. He’s so accommodating in helping me to bring it all together. We lean on him quite a bit. We could not do it without him.”
— Jeff Bollig, GCSAA senior director of communications