European Ryder Cup golfer, Thomas Pieters, had to take himself out of contention for the KLM Open. The news came after Pieters was stung by a bee on Monday, September 5 during a golf challenge against Joost Luiten. Unfortunately, Pieters is allergic and suffered a severe reaction, exhibiting flu-like symptoms. On Twitter, he called the KLM Open his favorite tournament and expressed his apologies to his fans who were looking forward to watching him play at the event.
This unfortunate occurrence comes at an inopportune time for Pieters. With the Ryder Cup fast approaching, this setback may make it difficult for him to maintain his positive momentum into the tournament. In the past year, he won three European titles, including last year’s KLM Open. His upcoming schedule includes only one more tournament prior to the Ryder Cup, and it is not on the PGA Tour. This could hurt his chances, as many of his European teammates will get their practice in at the BMW Championship and Tour Championship.
On top of that, in Pieters’ first Ryder Cup appearance, he will be competing against talented veterans, including Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson, so he’ll need to be at the top of his game if he hopes to hold his own. This Ryder Cup tournament will take place September 30 to October 2 at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, MN. The European team will be defending their title from the 2014 Ryder Cup in Scotland, so Pieters will have his work cut out for him in getting prepared for the tournament.
The Hazeltine course is a private club with a par of 72. However, for the Ryder Cup, the holes will be played in a different order than they usually are. The front nine will consist of holes 1-4 and 14-18, and the back nine will include holes 10-13 followed by holes 5-9. The course’s “signature” 16th hole is a par 4 that requires players to loft the ball 220 yards from the tee to carry over the picturesque Hazeltine Lake. The rest of the course is narrow and hilly, and nine of the holes feature water hazards. The difficulty of the course will make it a true test of the players’ skills and is expected to make for an exciting competition.
For Pieters, particularly as a Ryder Cup rookie, the course could prove challenging. This will be compounded by his lost practice time due to his untimely bee sting. However, only time will tell what the tournament will bring for Pieters and the rest of the European team as they defend their title. One thing is for sure though: golf fans the world over will be watching to see how it all plays out.