VAN SICKLE: Good point, John. I'd go with number 2, where the green is so close to the water, it looks like a boat ramp. The guys who nervously lose the 1st hole come to this tee, and all they can see is water. The last thing they want to do is splash one and suddenly fall two down after two holes. There should be some beautifully errant bailout shots at number 2.
BAMBERGER: If I could watch only one hole, I'd watch the 1st tee. Everything people say about 1st-tee Ryder Cup jitters is true. Guys make more practice swings, go to their towels, drink more water and look lost. It is different from the 1st tee of any other tournament, even the majors. It's psychological drama at its best.
SHIPNUCK: The 1st tee on Ryder Cup Sunday is my favorite hole in all of golf. The chants, the teammates coming out to watch, the captains, the occasional celebrity guest. It turns into a bit of a party. It's the only place to be.
THAT TODDLING TOWN
VAN SICKLE: Chicago is America's golf capital. Where would you sneak off to play golf during Ryder Cup week, not that any of us would ever do anything that underhanded. Right, Alan?
SHIPNUCK: Well, Chicago Golf Club has a little mystery to it. It's one of those great courses that really wants to remain private. They don't court course-raters or media. I've heard it's fantastic.
VAN SICKLE: It's the holy grail of Chicago golf, for sure.
GARRITY: I'm a big believer in public golf, so I'd make the pilgrimage to Cog Hill in Lemont. I've covered a few Western Opens over the years. I haven't been out there since it's been remodeled, to mostly bad reviews, but that's not the point. I'd be happy to play the other three Cog Hill courses, all of which are lovely and nicely maintained. It's important to go there to pay tribute to the Jemsek family, which has done so many fabulous things for Chicago golf.
VAN SICKLE: The Beverly Club is so exclusive that nobody even talks about it. I heard Lance Ten Broeck, a former Tour player turned caddie, had some legendary adventures there. The one time I was invited there was a rainout, and I've never been back. There's also Skokie Country Club, a frequent Top 100 member and a Donald Ross course. Need I say more?
BAMBERGER: There are scads of great and unique courses in Chicago. Among them is Bob O'Link, a men's club with no rules—well, except for that one—and where the golf is pure, so I've heard. The name itself is awesome. What happens at Bob O'Link stays at Bob O'Link.