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Local knowledge: Louisville, Ky.

Greg Avioli
President and CEO
The Breeders’ Cup

The Ryder Cup will be coming to horse country next month, so who better to offer a scouting report on Louisville than one of the top execs in the horse world?

Avioli spent eight years with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association before being named interim CEO of the Breeders’ Cup in 2006.

The “interim” tag was removed last year. Avioli oversees the Breeders’ Cup Challenge races that build to the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held Oct. 24-25.

We asked him to tell us about Louisville’s golf scene.

Three favorite courses:
1. Valhalla – Was there with my son for Tiger’s triumph over Bob May at the 2000 PGA. Fun personal memories, plus so many different types of holes, the course never seems to play the same way twice. Watch out for the redesigned 16th green.
2. Hurstbourne Country Club – Has the old-world charm of a 19th-century club with a classic clubhouse. It’s long but fair.
3. Persimmon Ridge – Fantastic Arthur Hills design, possibly the hardest course in town – even more so than Valhalla when the wind is blowing.

Best 19th hole: Valhalla clubhouse bar. Tremendous view back down the 18th. I’d love
to have a seat there for this year’s Ryder Cup.

Best hotel: Downtown Marriott – recently opened and has the look and feel of a 21st-century high-end urban hotel, with great beds and pillows.

Three favorite restaurants:
1. Jack Fry’s – Dates to the 1930s. Best steaks in town, old Louisville ambiance and always good martinis.
2. Lilly’s – Quintessential Louisville style and Southern charm, with great fresh vegetables and soups.
3. Furlongs – Spicy southwest Louisiana Cajun food. A gathering place for the horse-racing crowd.

Best nongolf attraction: Churchill Downs – Site of some of the greatest Breeders’ Cup moments – and of course The Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May.

Three golfers to fill out your fantasy foursome:
1. Corey Pavin – One of the nicest guys on Tour, plus I’ll never forget his ’95 Open win at Shinnecock.
2. Ernie Els – Met him in the early days of the Andersen Consulting World Championships. Just a great guy.
3. Fuzzy Zoeller – I like to have fun when I play golf.

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