CARSON, Calif. – Any chance to unwind from what has been a tense scramble to qualify for the MLS Cup playoffs is welcome at this point of the season. As such, the two-time defending MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy definitely are relishing their chance to get away from that grind on Friday at Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes.
More than 100 players are expected to turn out for Friday’s charity golf tournament, which is put on by the LA Galaxy Foundation at the fabled South Bay course. The first tournament of its kind since 2009, the day also features a silent auction and awards banquet, is expected to raise more than $75,000 for the Galaxy Foundation
“It’s always fun to do something with the team outside of soccer,” midfielder Michael Stephens said. “Whether it’s a night out or this, it will be a good time.
“We’re looking forward to it.”
Added head coach Bruce Arena, “It will be fun. It’s a little bit of a frustrating golf course to go out on your off days, but the guys will have a good time.”
At least it will give the players a chance to see who is the best player on the team, although everyone would be hard-pressed to top goalkeeper Brian Perk. The former UCLA star, who plays to a three handicap/index, showed off his skills earlier this year, winning a long-drive competition at the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club.
“There’s a reason why I choose him as my (golf) partner every time,” Stephens said. “I like to keep my money in my pocket. He’s a beast. He can drive just about 350; that can give you a pretty good advantage on the par fours and the par fives.
“He looks the part, too. He’s on top of his wardrobe. That’s half the battle.”
Midfielder Laurent Courtois admitted he doesn’t play much but is looking forward to Friday’s outing anyway.
“I’ll drive the cart,” he said with a laugh. “I’m going to try, have a little bit of fun. I’ve heard it’s a fantastic area; I’m going to enjoy the day.”
The general consensus among the players was the day for golf comes at a perfect time.
“We need something like this,” said Jack McBean, who said he usually shoots in the high 80s or low 90s (“I’m not terrible,” he said). “To have some fun and let loose is going to be good.”
Added Perk, “We’re late in the season. The guys aren’t worn down, but their bodies definitely are tired. I think the break will serve us well going into the most important stretch of our season.”
Perk, asked if he purposefully will try not to shoot a lower score than his coach, perhaps as a way to earn a bit more playing time, only grinned.
“I’m going to beat Bruce for sure,” he said. “That’s a done deal.”