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George Riley is an impressive young golfer. He was the first Dominican amateur to represent the Dominican Republic, in the prestigious Professional PGA Tour and second dominican golfer to play in an event of this magnitude. He recently participated in the DR Open 2014 where he was named the best amateur player in the competition, after finishing with 146, two over par.
After his success in the DR Open we got the opportunity to get together with George to find out a little more about his career and experience playing in the DR Open and on the Teeth of the Dog in Casa de Campo.
@cdcliving: How did it feel to be the first Dominican amateur golfer who competed in the PGA in 2011?
It was something very special to be the 1st amateur from the Dominican Republic to play an official PGA Tour event. I did not know what to expect at all so everything was a surprise for me. The best thing is how you are treated by everyone in such event. It has been the most special (golf) week of my life and I hope I can do it again some time.
@cdcliving: How did it feel to represent the Dominican Republic in the Professional PGA Tour in Puerto Rico?
The fact that I was the only, and just 2nd Domincan, playing an event of that magnitude meant that I had all of the Dominican golfers eyes on me. I tried not to think about it a lot and just focus on trying to have fun on the golf course and enjoying my time on and off the course. Overall I felt very good throughout the week, although I was alone, I had represented the Dominican Republic in previous team tournaments so I took those past experiences to try and manage the pressure (except on the 1st tee when my name was called).
@cdcliving: Tell us about your experience in DR Open and the BRITCHAM (both played recently on the Teeth of the Dog)
This was my 2nd start in a PGA LA event so I knew what I was getting into. Amateurs like myself only play a handful of good tournaments throughout the year, so when an event like this comes along it’s very special for us, and something we look forward to months in advance. The experience was very good besides not being able to make the final cut. I took lots of positives from this past week that certainly will help my game.
The BRITCHAM Tournament was a fantastic event. I had heard great things about it so that’s why I decided to be part of it this year. Winning was just an extra because we had a very good time from the moment we arrived in Casa de Campo until the last prize of the final ceremony. Hands down one of the best tournaments we play all year!
@cdcliving: Were you pleased with your performance in the DR Open?
I am satisfied with my performance in the tournament, yet a bit disappointed because I just missed the cut by 1 stroke. Hopefully next year I can play through the weekend.
@cdcliving: What would you have done differently?
If I start and look back, there are a lot of things that I would have done differently, just one little missed putt can be the difference between winning a tournament or not, or in my case making the cut.
@cdcliving: After playing golf courses around the world, how do you rank the Teeth of the Dog?
Teeth of The Dog is probably the most challenging course I’ve ever played. You can have the best game of your life, but also the worst if you don’t play the course how is supposed to be played. Every drive and every approach shot makes you think what to do. You can’t expect to just take a “whack” at it and be rewarded. It may happen elsewhere, but definitely not on Teeth of the Dog, or any Pete Dye course for that matter.
Teeing off on hole #2, Teeth of the Dog, Casa de Campo
@cdcliving: What would you change about the Teeth of the Dog?
@cdcliving: Which hole of the Teeth of the Dog do you find most challenging?
The 17th hole is perhaps the most difficult hole. You have the ocean from the tee all the way up to the green, as well as the breeze against you. You want to have a comfortable lead coming down the stretch (just ask Rich Cochran III).
@cdcliving: What is your favorite hole at Teeth of the Dog?
The 5th hole is my favorite. It just takes your breath away when you step onto the tee.
@cdcliving: What makes Casa de Campo one of the best golf resorts in the world?
Top of the world golf courses. Top of the world dining All types of activities that can be done in the resort. You can either spend a weekend or live in Casa de Campo. Isn’t this what makes a resort great?
@cdcliving: Who taught you to play golf?
My Dad was the one who introduced me to the game when I was 8 years old. He taught me almost everything I know about the game today.
@cdcliving: Do you think you inherited your passion for golf from your father?
I think I am more passionate about golf than what my Dad is, but definitely if it were not for him, I would not be playing this wonderful game.
@cdcliving: Which golfers do you admire?
Arnold Palmer & Phil Mickelson. They truly represent what this game is all about.