Iron Men — DuPage County tee’s-up for one of golf’s most prestigious events

September 2012 View more

NMAG0912_Community_1If there’s a golf equivalent to either the World Series or the Super Bowl, the Ryder Cup would be it. This biannual extravaganza, in which teams of top U.S. and European professionals square off against each other, yet receive no prize money, is taking place just up the road from Naperville later this month.

Playing Host

Medinah Country Club, near suburban Bloomingdale, has hosted PGA events over the years such as the U.S. Open, the U.S. Senior Open, and most recently the PGA Championship in 2006, now plays host to the 2012 Ryder Cup from Sept. 25 to 30. It’s the first time Illinois has hosted the Ryder Cup.

NMAG0912_Community_2“The biggest thing about the Ryder Cup is the international aspect of it,” said Tournament Director Michael Belot, a Wheaton resident. “There’s a rooting interest who wins and there’s passion behind it because you’re cheering for your country. The Ryder Cup has never been to Chicago and I don’t know if it will ever get here again. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Belot and his staff will be working around the clock throughout the week to make sure everything is on par for one of golf’s most prestigious events.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to get to work an event like the Ryder Cup,” said Belot.  “It’s tremendously exciting for all of us and we can’t wait for the week to get here.”

The Ryder Cup will be televised in 185 countries and 438 million households worldwide.

Economic hole-in-one

More than 40,000 golf and sports enthusiasts from across the country and Europe are expected to descend on Medinah each day of the Ryder Cup to watch practice and match rounds. All those spectators need places to stay and eat.

It all adds up to millions of dollars in estimated economic impact for DuPage County hotels, restaurants, shops, and local governments — any where between $70 million and $80 million, according to the DuPage County Convention and Visitors Bureau. All told, the Ryder Cup is expected to generate more than $150 million in estimated revenue for the Chicago metropolitan area.

“It’ll be very tough to get a hotel room here in DuPage County,” said Belot.

The DuPage Convention and Visitors Bureau was selected by the PGA to be the official online reservation agent for the PGA’s Ryder Cup website, The Bureau estimates that it has helped book 5,000 hotel room nights, which translates to more than $650,000 in revenue from individual reservations for DuPage County hotels.

For example, the Chicago Marriott Naperville Hotel has partnered with the Visitors Bureau and Ryder Cup Travel Services to book international guests at the hotel. They expect between 1,600 and 2,400 international guests at the Naperville hotel throughout September.

“We’re really excited to be part of the overall process because the Ryder Cup is such a large event, and we have a significant stake in it,” said Wes Graf, director of sales and marketing at the Chicago Marriott Naperville.

Graf said this is the largest number of visitors from foreign countries that the Chicago Marriott Naperville has served up to this point.

“They’re coming into the area for this specific reason, but the location of our hotel is pretty advantageous because of all the amenities surrounding the hotel,” said Graf.

Additionally, the Visitors Bureau has been working to secure Ryder Cup accommodations for PGA officials, players, media, and corporate sponsors.

“Hopefully people will come early and stay late and take advantage of everything Chicago has to offer,” said Belot.