For those who don’t have a ticket to next week’s Ryder Cup golf tournament at Medinah Country Club, the first day of the public pre-sale Saturday at the Ryder Cup Golf Shop offered a way in.
Volunteers working the course throughout the week got a chance during the pre-sale to grab gear like polo shirts, sweatshirts, umbrellas, hats and towels before all the prime picks are sold out.
And for everyone among the hundreds filing through the golf shop, the pre-sale afforded a glimpse of the course set up with dozens of luxurious hospitality tents for players and corporations.
Pre-sale shoppers parked at the Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago building at 333 E. Lake Street in Bloomingdale, then rode coach buses over to the course and the football field-sized beacon of Ryder Cup gear that is the golf shop.
“I know a lot of the good stuff sells out early,” Pam Hynes of Naperville said. “I learned if you see it, buy it.”
Hynes said she is volunteering at the 39th Ryder Cup as a hole captain, so she won’t have much time to shop once play begins. She also attended the 37th Ryder Cup at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., and said the temperature-controlled tent where golf fans shopped Saturday for tournament merchandise is “almost identical to the one in Louisville.”
Jim Lahl and his children Jack, 14, and Isabelle, 10, didn’t go to the 37th Ryder Cup, but as they shopped Saturday for sweatshirts and other apparel, they were already awaiting the 41st running of the event, scheduled for 2016 near their hometown of Minneapolis.
“We will have it in 2016, so we’re aware of it,” Lahl said about the tournament, to be held at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., the family’s home course.
“We’re social members. These guys get to play more than I do,” Lahl said about his children, both of whom are golfers.
A wedding brought the Lahl family to the Chicago area for the weekend, so they stopped by the Ryder Cup Golf Shop to take in the scene and scope out souvenirs.
“We figured we could come here and look around,” Lahl said.
As shoppers bustled about the white-roofed tent with bright blue carpet, lights and signs dangling from the roof bobbed and shook with gusts of wind.
Along with an array of merchandise emblazoned with the Ryder Cup 2012 Medinah logo, shoppers could get an autograph from Chicago Bears Hall of Famer Dan Hampton, who played defensive tackle and defensive end on the 1985 Super Bowl championship team.
Tournament volunteers Guy and Genie Bush of Bloomingdale took a break from finding a Ryder Cup hat for their grandson to wait in a short line for Hampton’s signature before boarding a bus back to the parking lot.
The pre-sale continues Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Read more coverage of the Ryder Cup at dailyherald.com/sports/pro/rydercup.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.