Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Playing Whistling Straits with Martin Kaymer

   When Charlotte's John Pappas, a 52-year old commercial real estate executive, received an email a month ago informing him he'd won a BMW-sponsored contest to play golf with 2010 PGA champion Martin Kaymer at Whistling Straits on the one-year anniversary of Kaymer's playoff victory there, he didn't take it seriously at first.

   Pappas had forgotten he'd entered the sweepstakes from which three amateurs were chosen to play with Kaymer. He doesn't typically enter contests but he had put his name in this one just for kicks and when an email from BMW's golf agency arrived, Pappas was "leery" about it.

   An email and a phone call later, Pappas was set for one of the great golf adventures of his life.

   He was flown to Chicago where he met the other winners -- one from Germany, the other from England -- and they played 18 holes at Cog Hill on Aug. 14. Afterward, they were whisked to Whistling Straits north of Milwaukee where they had dinner with Kaymer at the American Club.

   The next day, the three amateurs played a best-ball match against Kaymer using their handicaps. They broke even after the amateurs good-naturedly penalized Kaymer for carrying 15 clubs. It was Kaymer's first visit to the course since his dramatic victory there.

   They arrived on a good day. Pappas said LPGA Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez and speaker of the house John Boehner were also at Whistling Straits and stopped to visit with the group.

   "(Kaymer) was quite a nice guy and, as you would imagine, his golf game was incredible," said Pappas, a Charlotte Country Club member. "It was great to watch someone like that play from up close. He was so professional and willing to help in any way.

  "But he really wanted to win the match. He was grinding a little at the end."


Minnie Schiro said...

Greetings Ron,

We enjoyed reading your blog about Charlotte's, John Pappas playing Martin Kaymer at our Whistling Straits course. Thank you for sharing his experience. I tweeted it this morning on the American Club's Twitter page and thought you'd like to know. http://twitter.com/TheAmericanClub

Kind Regards,

Minnie Schiro
Social Media Manager-Hospitality and Real Estate
Kohler Company