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gog-blog-logo2DSC00666 Rory in Studio DS BY: RORY SPEARS

What a weekend for Illinois, the Fighting Illini started off their golf season in fine form by winning their own invitational at Olympia Fields. The Illini got stellar play from the entire team including the freshman in beating several of top teams in the nation. As it so often seems to be, it all came down to the back nine on Sunday.

That is where the Illini went under par, and Freshman like Dylan Meyer stepped up and won the tournament in his first college event. Illini Freshman Nick Hardy of Northbrook was T-12, toss in veterans Charlie Danielson 67 and Brian Campbell 66 with two of low rounds of the tournament, and Illinois and coach Mike Small are winners. The early play of both Meyer and Hardy show that Small did well in the recruiting department. This team could be real good by the time the NCAA Championships roll around next May.

ILLINOIS goes for six straight titles at the Wolf Run invite near Indy this weekend, Northwestern plays the Windon Championship at Evanston on Sunday and Monday.

GET WELL WISHES to Greg Norman, who almost lost his left hand in a chain saw accident. The Shark got lucky and didn’t do any major damage, but will have that left fin wrapped up for a while.

THE FED EX CUP…Billy Horschel and Chris Kirk sure burst on the scene during the playoff season, but are they going to be the two names we hear about for weeks on end if the USA loses the Ryder Cup.

It already seems that Captain Tom Watson is being second guessed for not picking these guys. Maybe for the time being everyone should get off of Watson’s back and let him do the coaching. There will be more time to debate this issue next month after the matches are over. I for one do not believe the USA will get blown out in Scotland, they might not win but I’m not expecting the rout that some “experts” are picking. I remember 2008 when Paul Azinger’s team had no chance. It didn’t have Tiger Woods, we’ll maybe that’s all it needed. Woods won’t be here this year either.

CONGRATS TO HORSCHEL on winning the Fed Ex Cup, but it sounded like many of the top players were running on fumes by the last two weeks. Henrik Stenson was recently quoted as saying, many of the top players might disappear until the Florida swing in March. Needing the first two months of 2015 to rest up for the never ending PGA Tour season. That Commissioner Tim Finchem seems to be expanding. I think the players should be off from the Sunday before Thanksgiving, up until Kapalua in early January.

WEB.COM Tour Championship is up this weekend. Good luck to Elgin’s Carlos Sainz Jr., the defending champion at the Chicago Open (coming up this October at Cantigny Golf). Illini alum D.A. Points is playing as well. Go get those PGA Tour cards.

I KNOW the weather has been a bit nippy over the last week or so, but I’m sure we have not seen the last of some warm weather yet. I’m getting notices from plenty of local courses that are offering fall specials, on and off the golf course. There are plenty of scrambles and other outings going on, if you’re looking for something like that to play in.

LAST SUNDAY, I played in a scramble at Shepherd’s Crook in Zion, and the course was in great shape. The Keith Foster design is a great links course, and the club is running some great fall deals. (847)-872-2080.

BIG 3 PARTNER Len Ziehm has put up some travel stories on his site,, his most recent trip was to Northern Michigan.

MISTWOOD GC, the original clubhouse is gone. There is a hole in the ground where the old one once stood. What’s coming will be spectacular. There is live camera onsite where you can watch the work as it moves along. I wish some of the clubs that are doing course renovations, would do that as well.

MIKE MUNRO our Golfers on Golf Radio partner reminds everyone that he plans to have the White Pines Golf Dome up and running right around Saturday November 1st. That’s only 45 days away, is it almost dome season already…wow.

NU-Northwestern University is making some news in it’s golf department, I’ll have the full story up shortly. But Pat Goss is getting a new 5 year deal, but the Wildcats are getting a new head coach on the mens side.

The 70 degree temperature days are coming, fall golf a great time of the year to GO PLAY, so why don’t you. RS

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About Rory Spears

Rory spent over 8 years growing up working at Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Hts.IL, then two years at Chevy Chase in Wheeling. He has covered golf in Chicago since 1986. Rory was one of the initial members of WSCR all-sports radio Chicago and covered golf there for 5 seasons, before moving on to work for ESPN/Sportsticker and ESPN Radio. In addition to hosting Golfers on Golf Radio on WNDZ Am 750 Chicago, he writes for both the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine, and formerly Chicagoland Golf. Rory has played over 525 courses in 39 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, within the golf industry.