December 02, 2015

Elite tee times come with a pro

For the 18 PGA TOUR pros competing at the Hero World Challenge this week, putting in work happens on and off the course. Most of the competitors arrived early in the week and hit the range and practice greens in addition to heading out on the course. On Wednesday, the pros enjoyed a round of stress-free golf as they partnered up with their amateur counterparts for the Hero World Challenge Pro-Am.

Just like the pros, the amateur golfers read their putts, checked for yardage and attacked the pins, looking to post the lowest score of the day. After sinking a putt from just outside of 10 feet, one amateur looked at Rickie Fowler and thanked him for the read on his putt. Fowler responded, “That was just a good putt!”

The exclusive opportunity to tee it up with one of the world’s best is not an experience lost on the participants. Groups of three and four amateurs were each partnered with a TOUR pro for the annual Hero World Challenge Pro-Am. Getting to know one another is all part of the experience at Albany, and hopefully golf tips and insights were exchanged.

“You’ll need to add 15 to 20 years because of the wind,” Chris Kirk told his playing partners before they teed off at the par-3 12th hole. 

Chris Kirk drives a golf ball during the Hero World Challenge Pro-Am

As the rounds progressed, the pros and amateurs got to know one another. Bubba Watson engaged in conversations about the music industry and joked with his playing partners that they didn’t want to use his drive, but had no issues using the 12-foot birdie putt he sunk to close out his group’s 13th hole.

Bubba Watson watches an amateur drive the ball

The amateur golfers took the Albany course for more than one round. On Tuesday, the amateur scramble highlighted the day at the Hero World Challenge. Following Tuesday’s round, the Pro-Am Draw Luncheon presented by Sentient Jet determined the group’s pro pairings for Wednesday’s action. The top pick in this year’s Hero World Challenge Pro-Am? Jordan Spieth.

Jordan Spieth shakes hands during the Hero World Challenge Pro-Am

An exclusive experience like the Hero World Challenge Pro-Am is just one of the many highlights of the week at Albany. Playing with one of the world’s best is not an everyday experience, but it can be yearly.

“Every year the bar gets higher, and every year it’s raised,” Danny Conway, a longtime Hero World Challenge Pro-Am participant, said.