Ryan Vermeer, one of the best players in the Nebraska Section of the PGA, has had a great summer of golf. He qualified for the Web.com Tour’s Pinnacle Bank Championship in July, and additionally, qualified for the PGA Championship earlier this month at Quail Hollow in North Carolina. NebraskaGolf.org had the chance to ask Ryan a few questions about his experience at Quail Hollow for his first Major Championship.
What was the overall experience like playing in your first major?
“Overall, my experience was simply awesome. The feeling of being a part of that field was something I’ve waited a long time to feel. It was very cool to be there and it definitely lived up to all of my expectations. Ever since I was probably 5 years old its been my dream to play on golf’s biggest stage and to do it at age 39 was a long awaited dream come true. My week was just awesome though from the treatment you get as a player to being embraced by the fans and other players. I was very fortunate due to my friendship with Gary Woodland to be able to play some pretty special practice rounds which was very cool. Being able to play alongside and talk with not only Gary but, also world #1 Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, and Branden Grace was really cool. It was great to see how they go about there business and to see how they prep for events was a great learning experience.”
Now that you’ve had that experience, what does that do for your mindset going forward?
“Going forward after this experience my mindset doesn’t really change too much as I still know that if my game is sharp I can play some really great golf. Playing the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow did however magnify a few weaknesses in my game that I need to address and I welcome that challenge going forward. Players on that level are so good that I really don’t think most people can even wrap their heads around just how good they are and its really cool to see it up close. Its also very cool for me to see that I have some game and can do a lot of the same things on the course that they can do. As I look ahead a couple things that I really want to focus on is physical conditioning. The guys out there are not leaving any stone unturned and I feel that is a missing link in my game to some extent. I also need to address a few simple things in my game to become more consistent day in and day out when pressure and anxiety mounts. My BIGGEST take away from the week though is a really strong desire to get back there again as I want nothing more than to have a few more bites at that apple.”
Was it the toughest course you’ve ever played? If not, what was the toughest course you have ever played?
“Quail Hollow was definitely one of the toughest tests I’ve ever faced from a golf course standpoint. The combination of length, soft wet fairways and really fast firm greens thanks to the Sub Air system was a challenge unlike many I have faced. I did however play in the US Amateur at Pebble Beach in 1999 and that was really something as well. We played there the year before the US Open was to be held and lets just say the USGA used the AM as a test run to see what they could and could not do for the US Open in 2000. In a nutshell I’d say both courses were equally tough set ups. However, due to the Bermuda grasses at Quail Hollow I will say that for my game that course takes the cake as toughest course set up I have played.”
Players were very opinionated about the 4th hole at Quail Hollow. What did you think of all that?
“The 4th hole at Quail Hollow was definitely the topic of lots of discussion during tournament week and understandably so. It was not my favorite hole on the course, but I wouldn’t say I hated it either. I really like the fact that they didn’t make it a super long hole. Its always refreshing to play par 3’s that aren’t 200+ yards. That being said that I will say that the green complex is not one of my favorite and it needs to be looked at and possibly even rebuilt.”