Richie Ramsay has a real love affair with Hazeltine, sparked when the Scot won the US Amateur Championship at the Minnesota venue. The Aberdonian returned there for his wedding and even has a Hazeltine head cover in his bag. Here, Ramsay picks out his four key holes for the Ryder Cup.
1st Par 4 442 yards
Luckily it’s quite an easy tee shot - under normal circumstances! It’ll feel considerably more challenging at the start of a Ryder Cup. It’s a slightly elevated reasonably long par 4, your only trouble are bunkers left and right. But they’re quite flat so even if you go in them, it’s probably a six or seven iron into the green. Unlike some parts of the course where it really feels claustrophic and demands a straight tee shot, this one is quite an open hole. A gentle start.
7th Par 4 402 yards, pictured
The toughest hole on the course. You stand on the tee looking at a huge lake on the right hand side so you generally have a breeze coming at you. The hole doglegs left to right, water frowns all the way down the right hand side and it almost feels like the fairway is on a camber that kicks anything through the fairway off towards a burn on the other side. You can hit an iron off the tee but that leaves a longer shot into the hole - or you can take the risk on with driver to cut some of the corner off and leave a sand wedge into the green.
16th Par 5 572 yards
Great hole with real potential to swing a lot of matches. You have to hit down the right hand side for a good look at the green. Anything left makes the hole longer. If you lay up the third shot is a pitch over the water into a slightly elevated green. It probably favours the big hitters because even if you go long into the back bunker it’s a pretty easy bunker shot. So getting it up there in two, or even over the back makes it easier. This could be a game-changer.
17th Par 3 176 yards
Lovely par 3. Quite short but if the flag is tucked away with bunkers left and water on the right it can be a real challenge. You’ve just got to hit a good shot, there’s no margin for error at all, no bail-out. If you hit a good shot in the heart of the green you’re not going to be left with any more than 15 or 20 feet - but it’s definitely one where the nerves will be jangling as the game comes to a climax and you’re one up or one down.