After the record-breaking performance in 2016 by the team of Shane Hennessy-York and Greg Smith, it was a forgone conclusion that the Shootout’s best teams would be gunning for the champions. But few expected an Invitational Shootout legend would resurface after a nine-year hibernation.
Speaking through his Twitter account, former Champion Kevin “Hammer” Hyland mentioned a possible return to the Invitational Shootout for the first time since his 2009 triumph with partner Dave Neill. Universally recognized as the most dominant Champion in tournament history, Hyland has competed only once in the Invitational Shootout.
In 2015, Hennessy-York and Smith finished 11 under par to win by three strokes over Derek Cook and Steve Jandernoa. The winning score of 61 broke the previous record of 62, set by Hyland and Neill in 2009.
“I’ll be honest, I really don’t know what to think.” said Shane Hennessy-York. “If The Hammer plays this year, great. As far as I’m concerned, he’s making a big mistake by trying to capture his glory days. The Shootout has changed because the quality of player has gone up exponentially since Hammer’s day.”Not surprisingly, most long-time players don’t share Hennessy-York’s bravado. “Make no mistake, Hammer Hyland is a game-changer” said 2004 Champion Joe Hill. “He could literally smash Hennessy-York and use him as a tee. The Hammer should be respected, not challenged.”
“Do I think Hammer Hyland could come back and destroy the field like he did in 2009? Absolutely.” said Mick McDonnell. “Look, nine years away from competition is a long time for most of us… but not The Hammer. He’s a freak of nature who can overpower any golf course at any time.”
“Hammer’s Instagram account is loaded with his feats of strength swinging a golf club” said Tom Senne. “If you’re playing in the Shootout, you better take note because he’s still an incredibly dominant player. I’m not afraid of The Hammer, but I certainly respect the man.”