I can say without a doubt in my mind that the week in Evian, France for the Arnold Palmer Cup was a week that I will never forget. It will forever be a highlight in my career not just in golf, but in life experiences. Words can’t explain how honored I felt to be chosen to be part of the U.S. team, and to be given the opportunity to exemplify Mr. Palmer in all that he did for the game of golf. It was definitely a goal of mine starting the year, especially since I was very close to making the team the previous year, and to be chosen really validated to myself that I was working in the right direction. I was pretty pumped to see who else was on the team as well, because some of the guys/girls on the team were natives of Southern California, such as Matt Wolff, Collin Morikawa, and Lilia Vu. It was cool because we all played together in the SCPGA Jr Tour ranks together, whether it was in the Junior series, Toyota Tour Cup, Jr. America’s Cup, or Hogan Cup. That is simply a testament to how strong golf is in Southern California, and to see that kind of representation was awesome.
To start off, I have to talk about the ridiculous amount of cool stuff that I got. In addition to all of the normal gear (shirts, pants, jackets, shoes), we got a specially embroidered travel case, a sweet USA logoed bag, some sick custom headcovers, a pair of Nike Air Maxes, more balls than I could count, and a suit & tie, among other things. All that free stuff provided by the sponsors sure helps! The guys that ran the event did such a good job for us players, making sure we were accommodated at all times during the week, and really making it easy for us to simply play golf and enjoy ourselves.
The golf was no joke either at Evian Resort Golf Club, where conditions were as pristine as they can be, and the background scenery consisting of Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps. My favorite hole had to be the short par 3- 2nd, with the shot playing about 35 yards downhill, with the lake and Switzerland in the background. Personally I didn’t have a great week on the golf course, going 1-3, but our team had a pretty convincing victory over the Internationals, and that’s what the main goal of the week was. The atmosphere during the event was perfect. There was serious intensity on the golf course, with some violent fist-pumps being thrown, and yells of “LET’S GO” clearly audible from several holes away. But the instant we were all off the course, we all became good friends, and that was the part of the trip that might have been the most enjoyable for me. That time that we spent with each outside of golf really brought our team together, and I can safely say I wasn’t the only one that made some lifelong friends that week.
Overall, I don’t mean to sound cliche, but every aspect of the week was unreal. The splendid golf, to the decadent post-round dinners, to the overall French cultural experience (aided by their superb play in the Wolrd Cup), to the friends made during the week, all made it special. It’s crazy for me to think that simply playing this sport of golf to the best of my abilities has allowed me to experience such special events around the world, such as the Arnold Palmer Cup. That thought alone makes me hungry to be the best that I can be both on and off the golf course, as Mr. Palmer’s legacy would have it.