Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Iceland Man Cometh To The PGA Tour

Olafur Loftsson is making a bit of history this week by becoming the first Iceland-born golfer to play in a PGA Tour event, having earned a spot in the Wyndham Championship field with his victory last weekend at the Cardinal Amateur.

Loftsson is a rising senior on the Charlotte 49ers golf team, another in a long line of very good players in the program.

The obvious question is how much golf there is in Iceland. The answer, Lofsson said, is more than most of us think. There are 60 to 70 courses, most of them links-style, in Iceland and they're busy five to six months a year.

"It's the second-most popular sport in Iceland behind soccer and it's growing very fast," Loftsson said in a pre-tournament press conference. "A lot of the population plays golf. It's very popular for youngsters now and we're seeing a lot of potential players rising these days."

Loftsson said a couple of television crews made the journey from Iceland to document his week on the PGA Tour.

"Very tanned. You can recognize them by their skin color," Loftsson joked.

Because it stays light almost around the clock during mid-summer in Iceland, Loftsson said he's played as many as 64 holes in a day.

"I love playing golf adn to be able to play golf 24/7 in Iceland late in June, on a good day it's calm outside and you can play all day long so why wouldn't you," Loftsson said.

"I usually take the opportunity to use the good days when they come in Iceland."