I was fortunate enough to have spent the last two weeks abroad at the 2022 Arnold Palmer Cup, held at Golf Club de Genéve in Geneva, Switzerland.
The GCAA staff spent months working towards this experience. I helped prepare the tournament program, write pre-tournament press releases, get social media ideas in line, fulfill media obligations, and get items shipped to their proper locations prior to traveling on-site, all while the spring 2022 season was finishing. Only so much of that preparation could gear us for the amount of off-the-course drama that came our way.
Getting our participants onto location in one piece became more abstract than comprehensible. Much luggage, including a double-digit amount of golf bags needed for play, saw more of the world than their owners did. Some players had to play rounds of the tournament with rental clubs, if you can imagine that. One still hasn’t seen their clubs…. A $1,500 Uber from Heathrow airport to Geneva (680+ miles) was even taken due to travel stress. I will publish my journal from the trip's every day eventually, but the participants made everything worth it.
The tournament began with a “Hello Friends, and welcome to the 2022 Arnold Palmer Cup” from Jim Nantz himself, which was even more awesome than it sounds. That utterance happened minutes before a strong thunderstorm brought our opening ceremonies inside to pandemonium. At least the pause gave everyone time to meet and greet. In a right place, right time moment, I got to lead Nantz around and through the chaos a little bit. The hospitality of Rolex, an important APC sponsor and Geneva native, was as good as advertised throughout. The evening spectacles around the town were special to witness, and lastly, the play lived up to the hype, with Team International using a triumphant final round to break the tie and defeat Team USA 33 to 27.
The weather couldn’t have been better to match the level of play, as you will see in the below photos. The media fulfillments required for a tournament like this could not have been done without the help of do-it-all phenom Alex Gelman. Alex, who ran the @arnoldpalmercup social media and official photography throughout the experience, is the 2022 Ron Balicki Scholarship recipient, a John Reis Intern with the GCAA, travels with the Arizona State Men’s Golf program as their official broadcaster, and is a P.J. Boatwright Intern with the USGA and Arizona Golf Association (AGA), where he has worked two Patriot All-America Invitationals. He has immersed himself within the college golf landscape over the last year-plus and has such a bright future in front of him. The opening and closing ceremony photos seen below were taken by him.
To me, the most rewarding feeling that came from this experience is the gratification our work gave to so many. Players came to us and said that they had the most fun they’ve ever had, be that in golf overall or amateur golf, at this tournament. “If you look back at the players who have played in this tournament before, it is a testament to how strong college golf is and where it’s headed,” one said. “Anytime that you get to represent your country, you’re very proud.” Sports Information Directors sent notes to Alex and me saying that we “absolutely CRUSHED it, I don't have enough kudos for you guys. Just outstanding coverage, photos --- just so, so, so helpful!” among other praises.
Some sightseeing, almost two meals of Italian food per day on average, a plethora of tasty Swiss beer, incredible white Sangria, and decadent Swiss, Italian, and French desserts were consumed as well. See below for photographic highlights, and until next time, Arnold Palmer Cup, thank you.
(I created the documents that the legend himself, Jim Nantz, is referring to:)
(Each player and coach signs these two bags. One goes to the club and one to Rolex as a thank-you gift.)
(Rachel Kuehn and Michael Brennan of Team USA got paired together to face Carolina Chacarra and Josele Ballester in Round 1's Mixed Four-Ball competition. Kuehn (far right), Brennan (middle right), Chacarra (middle left), and Team USA Assistant Coach Ryan Potter (far left) all come from Wake Forest, which is Arnold Palmer's alma mater, so it was very special to capture these moments.)
(Just a couple of Stanford standouts sharing a Stanford ball-mark and pairing during the first round. Michael Thorbjornsen, left, has become a name to know in the golfing world these last few weeks, and Rose Zhang, right, won the individual national championship, every national individual award, and is the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world at 19 years old.)
(What a view of Mount Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe, and the 11th most prominent mountain summit on Earth.)
(Kuehn, left, and Brennan, right, were paired again for Round 3, where they provided fireworks late to secure a big victory for Team USA.)
(This photo is from the final round. Aline Krauter and Rachel Heck are teammates at Stanford and welcomed a picture with the walking standard.)
(Chiara Tamburlini, the St. Gallen, Switzerland, native, posing with family members before Sunday's final round.)
(Fresh of his fourth-place finish at the PGA Tour's 2022 Travelers Championship just three days prior to arriving in Geneva, it was a pleasure seeing and getting to know Thorbjornsen in his element. He's off to superb things in his career.)
(Got to know and gain contact with Ashley Lau, who owns eight University of Michigan program records and became the first U-M player to play in the Arnold Palmer Cup. She is back in Ann Arbor beginning her Masters program, and I cannot wait to see what her future holds.)
(On February 13, 2002, former Penn State University golfer and GCAA Arnold Palmer Cup intern Michael Carter died in an automobile accident at the young age of 19. While Carter tragically left this world too soon, his infectiously fun-loving spirit will forever live in this competition. The Michael Carter “Junior” Memorial Award is presented to the Arnold Palmer Cup participant from each team who best represents the qualities and ideals that made this young man unique. The 2022 recipients were James Leow, right, and Cole Sherwood, left.)
(Team International - 2022 Arnold Palmer Cup Champions.)
(Mateo Fernández de Oliveira became the first Arnold Palmer Cup participant from Argentina.)
(Fred Biondi became the first Arnold Palmer Cup participant from Brazil.)
(Leow became the first Arnold Palmer Cup participant from Singapore.)
(Biondi, left, and Fernández de Oliveira celebrating their victories on Sunday.)
(Heather Lin, left, and Christo Lamprecht, right, requested a photo with each other because they had so much fun being paired together this week.)
(From Évian-les-Bains, France, home to the worldwide evian Natural Spring Water.)
(A splash of Lake Geneva water.)
(Some incredible views from Yvoire, France, a location our Uber driver took us to.)
(This was the most popular hangout spot for the APC during our stay. Hôtel Métropole Genève, where the players were staying, housed a rooftop bar with this view. Many nights, beverages, pictures, and a few cigars were shared on that rooftop.)
(Thought to record a time-lapse on our trolley ride back from the yacht club, where we had drinks and snacks at, on Sunday evening.)
(A view of Geneva's past.)
(The view from our office at Golf Club de Genéve.)
(As the players were arriving, six of them that arrived earlier got to be a part of a junior clinic at the course, working with and showing an abundance of youth their craft. The signed autographs after and were just so wonderful with everyone.)