After beating Hungary, Holland and Argentina in the final, the United States became the 2016 Footgolf Team World Champions. The team's coach, Marcelo Landau, told us how Team USA won this new and innovative format of the sport.
You played in Hungary four years ago. How do you remember the first World Cup?
It was amazing to be invited and play with the first countries and to be a part of the FootGolf history. I was one of the oldest players there and the only one sent by the AFGL to represent the United States on that World Cup.
What was your job as a coach of the US team before and during the second World Cup?
I knew we had sixteen champions on the course, so the most important thing was to keep the team spirit high. Our goal now is to be prepared to defend the title at the next World Cup.
Was it hard to pick the best members for the match play?
Even though these players live in different states in the US, they managed to train and it was not so easy to determine who could be the very best option to play in the first day of team competition. We practiced once all together in Palm Springs, CA and then we had the 16 again at practice day in Pilar Golf Club. Deciding the first line-up is not easy, we made changes before the semi-final, and then returned to the original four players. All were great, including those who didn't play in the team competition as they had a very important role of supporting the four that played each day.
Seeing just the results, the quarter and the semi final seemed easy, was it?
Every game was very tough. We were lucky against Hungary. While our balls landed in the cup, they missed their chances. In the semi final, we had a big opportunity, because Collin Green missed the game. But the hardest match was the final, it's true.
What are the main differences between the two World Cups?
The game continues to develop and the rules have changed a lot. It's exciting to see how many people are familiar with our sport, and how many play it. In June 2012, we had only one course and a few players. Now the AFGL has 450 courses in 49 states to play FootGolf. The potential is big, the participation is increasing by the day, we have the structure for competitive players all around the country and we are also focused on the kids now. I know the FIFG is working on getting more countries involved and with everybody's support, we can all work together to get FootGolf to the Olympics.
Christian Otero was crowned on Sunday. The new world champion told the secret of his succes.
Can you remember your first steps in FootGolf?
I started to play it in 2012 in the United States. I met a very new sport, and I thought, it could grew up. I believed it would develop in the next years.
How can be someone a world champion?
First of all, you have to believe in yourself. You need to be in great condition of course, but the key is to clear your mind during the game.
Was it a pressure on you last week because you and your team was in home, and you were the biggest favourite of the tournament?
Of course, yes! When you know, that you have to win, it is a pressure. But I was confident enough. I dreamed about that day and it came true.
Will you be a two-time champion?
I do not know it now. I am 37 years old. I’d love to, but more and more great players come to the courses, so I need to work hard to defend the title.
The Argentine Christian Otero won the FootGolf World Cup in Pilar Golf Club, next to Buenos Aires. Hundreds of people watched his final kick and the awarding ceremony.
Otero won the first day of the individual competition. He was the leader after Friday also, but the Mexican Enrique Reyes caught him. The Slovakian Ján Kozák and Paul Oliver from UK was so close to them. The Americans had only one shot lead.
They went in the final flight on the closing day. The game became a two-man show after the “half time”, Otero and Reyes seemed to be unstoppable. Then Otero reached the final hole with three points lead, what was enough for him to become the new world champion.
The question is, will the “tradition” continue, that the home course guarantees the World Cup for the organizing nation?
After winning the quarter and semifinal by a big difference, the United States National FootGolf Team (Team USA - American FootGolf League) was unbeatable in the final, as well. They won the World Cup at the 16th hole!
Argentina came back from deep and beat UK by only one point in the semifinal. USA won the semi against Holland by eight points on Saturday morning.
After a short break, Argentina and the USA went to play 18 holes again in the match play format.
Their game was a big tactical battle. At the 16th hole, USA needed two points to win the final, and after Sharif Khatib reached the coast near to the hole with the fewest kicks, he only needed to put the ball from four metres to reach the glory. He did not miss it, and the celebration started.
USA is the first World Champion of FootGolf in history.
Two days left from the second FootGolf World Cup. After friday’s individual results, only the best players can prepare for the final on Sunday. But until that, the team competition ends on Saturday.
All the footgolfers played again on the beautiful course of Pilar Golf Club next to Buenos Aires. After the second individual day, it is clear now, there will be a new world champion. Christian Otero (ARG), Enrique Reyes (MEX), Ján Kozák (SLK) and Paul Oliver (GBR) have the biggest chance for the gold medal, they are in the final flight.
Otero was the best after the first day (-7), Reyes caught him with a -9 performance on Friday. The American duo has only one point advantage against the Europeans. The former international football player, Kozák showed his strength kicking 63 on the second day, while Oliver played balanced on the two days (66 and 67).
The individual finals will be on Sunday.
The team competition continues on Saturday with the semifinals. After the Argentina-UK and Holland-USA games, the final is going to be on the afternoon.
The World Cup continued with the team competition’s first day on Thursday. After another long day, USA, Argentina, Holland and UK are in the semifinals.
The first individual day was paused on Wednesday because of the darkness. Those, who has not reached the final hole on Wednesday, have finished the game on Thursday morning. After the results, the teams have prepared for the team quarterfinals.
In these match play system games Argentina beat Mexico by three, while Holland defeated Slovakia by four. USA reached the semifinals by beating Hungary with 12 points, and UK got a narrow win (only one point) against Italy.
The team semifinals and the final are on Saturday.
Team semi finals:
Friday is an individual day again. The filghts start at 7 am.
After the results of the first individual round, the team competition starts today. Eight teams fight for the final glory.
The ranking after the summary of the individual results:
That means that is the drawing of the quarterfinals:
Wednesday was the first competition day of the second FootGolf World Cup. The Argentine Christian Otero was the best, finished the day with -7.
Not all the players have finished the 18 holes on the first day of the World Cup, because of the darkness, they have to continue their game from where they have finished it on Thursday morning.
From those, who have reached the end of the 18th hole, Christian Otero was the best, kicking only 65 times the ball on a very hot, windy day.
The players, whose game was paused, have to appear at 8 am to continue their game at 8:30.
After the individual ”day” the organizers are going to draw the team competition for the afternoon, starts at 1:30 pm.
The second FootGolf World Cup started on Tuesday with the practice day, a press conference and the opening ceremony. The biggest FootGolf tournament has just started.
Javier de Ancizar, president of the Argentine federation opened the press conference after the practice day.
”I am so happy, that we are here in the second World Cup. It was a difficult year from the announcement that said we were going to organise the biggest FootGolf event ever. I want to say thank you for everybody who was involved in our long journey.”
Gábor Gelencsér, vice-president of the FIFG, the organizer of the first World Cup, told to the press, that the facilities and course were fantastic.
„We came here to defend our title. The weather conditions are better for the Argentine players than the others who come from Europe. They have world class players, and the British, Swiss and US footgolfers have the chance to grab the gold medal. I am delighted seeing, how many press workers came to here to broadcast our biggest event. This sport is growing from week to week, there are countries, who applied yet to get involved in the FIFG’s plans.”
Javier de Ancizar added, the international federation could join the Sportaccord, but it needed more time.
“We want to join to them, but we have to organize a lot of international events, we need more countries, and so on. The final goal is to join to the Olympic family.”
The individual competition starts on Wednesday morning. Every flight has a marshall during the game to control the rules.
230 players, 26 countries, 18 Hole Course. Tuesday is practice day, but Wednesday all footgolfers are going to make their first steps into the Argentine Tango.
Everything is ready for the second World Cup in Pilar Golf Club next to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Most of the players have arrived to the place of the biggest FootGolf tournament ever.
– Tuesday 5th: Practice day, Opening Ceremony, Official Welcome to the World Cup, Flights drawn
– Wednesday 6th: First day of Individual competition for all players starting at 8:00 am with flights every 8 minutes. Last flight starts 3:28 pm
– Thursday 7th: Teams quarterfinals (18 holes), based on the results of the 1st day of individual competition
– Friday 8th: Second day of Individual competition for all players starting at 8:00 am with flights every 8 minutes. Last flight starts 3:28 pm
– Saturday 9th: Teams semifinals in the morning (18 holes) + Teams finals in the afternoon (18 holes).
– Sunday 10th: Final day of Individual competition, best 144 players + best player per country if they are not among those 144, Closing Ceremony, Cocktail and Closing Party
Monday 11th or Tuesday 12th will be available in case of lost days of competition due to bad weather. So, the World Cup Committee advises all players to book their flights from January 5th to January 13th at a minimum.