Quick report of Day One at the International Hickory Cup at the Mission Inn Resort at Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.
Team USA led by Captain Rick Woeckener edged a top-flite World Hickory Select Team in opening round fourball matches on Tuesday, Feb. 22. The home team took a 5-3 on the El Campeon course at the Mission Inn Resort.
El Campeon is no push-over whether you have played it before or have just a practice round under your belt. Play was spirited and the matches were often close, a few halved. Day Two will bring foursomes matches on the Las Colinas course.
The IHC is a goodwill match between the USA and a World Select Team, chosen by Lionel Freedman. The Ryder Cup format includes foursomes, match play, and singles. the first event was played at Monifieth in Carnoustie, Scotland in October 2014.
Members of U.S. Team qualify by securing points based on their finish in the SOHG Championship series. Members of the World Select Team are chosen by Freedman, who is also director of the World Hickory Open.
Timing of the current IHC, as well as the location, was selected to facilitate travel for Europeans who might find Florida in February an attractive inducement.
The 2014 IHC was won by the U.S. team 23-21, after a very spirited contest that came down to the closing holes.
Captains Rick Woeckener (USA), left, and Brian Schuman (World Select), pose with the IHC trophy.
The World Select Hickory Team (with one or two ringers from the U.S.). Team members include: (no particular order) Andrew Marshall, Paolo Quirici, Claus Muehifelt, Chris Homer, Janet Homer, Geoff Bleasby, Christian Juel, Lisbeth Juel, Hugh Cameron, Paul Dietz, Boris Lietzow, Rich Grula, Asher Fried, Deal Hudson, Mike Stevens, Brian Schuman (Captain), Mike Henderson.
The USA Team. Team members include: (in no particular order) Tony Smarrelli, Cliff Martin, Mark Hollingsworth, Rick Woeckener (Captain), Dave Brown, Michael Shiff, John Berggren, Bill Geisler, Joe Hollerbach, Ben Hollerbach, Terry Pemberton, Hamp Munsey, Ed Ronco, Paul Fiedorek, Ted Kopec, and Richard Bullock.