Mary Janiga of Wellington and Jonah Wasserstrom of Hollywood represent the South Florida Section among 43 juniors at this week’s Ryder Cup Junior Academy at the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance in Port St. Lucie. The Ryder Cup Junior Academy, which runs through Sunday, offers a full week of instruction to selected juniors.
The Academy, developed in response to recommendations made by past United States Ryder Cup Captains, is designed to provide aspiring junior golfers, regardless of ethnic or economic background, an elite player-development experience with focus on competing in match-play and stroke-play formats.
Participants were given a once-in-a-lifetime Captains’ Clinic Wednesday morning from some of the legends of the game, including past U.S. Ryder Cup Captains Billy Casper, Dow Finsterwald and Hal Sutton.
Casper, a World Golf Hall of Fame Member and three-time major champion; Finsterwald, the 1958 PGA Champion; and Sutton; the 1983 PGA Champion, each took turns during the clinic to teach the students about the intricacies of the golf swing, preparation for both stroke-play and match-play formats, and the many mental aspects of the game.
“This has all been so exciting and you can tell that each of these juniors is eager to learn and get better,” said Sutton, the 2004 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain. “There is a true appreciation for what we are doing and I know that these kids have what it takes to be great.”
Jonah Wasserstrom has already learned a great deal during the week about his game, what he does well and what he needs to work on going forward. He also had the chance to have Finsterwald work with him individually on the practice range.
“This is a great opportunity for me but it’s also a little nerve-wracking,” said Wasserstrom. “I want to impress these legends of the game so much, but I know that they are here to help, and they have so much already.”
Finsterwald, the victorious 1977 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain, was also impressed by the students’ ability, willingness to learn and improve.
“We want to see the game of golf grow, and these are the type of people that can make it happen.”
Mary Janiga had the opportunity to sit with Hal Sutton at the Captain’s dinner Tuesday night prior to the clinic.
“This has been such a great experience so far. I’ve gotten to ask so many questions and meet amazing people. I wish it was longer than a week!”
Throughout the week, the junior participants will be working on all aspects of golf, including full-swing, chipping, putting, iron play, club fitting and course management. They will also learn about specific strategies when competing in match play formats.
The Academy, a unique, once-in-a lifetime experience, celebrates the passion of the Ryder Cup, while inspiring participants to achieve greatness and to improve their lives through the game of golf.
The Ryder Cup Junior Academy will be a seven-day program conducted annually each summer.
Please click on the link below to view photos from Wednesday’s Captains’ Clinic at the Ryder Cup Junior Academy: http://mediaarchive.pgalinks.com/cgi/viewerlogin.pl?lbjobid=9145
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