Yesterday (Tuesday the 10th of July) was Media Day at Niagara Falls Country Club. Various luminaries from the fourth estate were in attendance and they were treated to a run-down of the events that will make up this year’s 54th Porter Cup.
For those not yet in the know, the Porter Cup is a 72-hole medal golf tournament, contested every year in July over the 6900-yard Niagara Falls Country Club golf course. The tournament has an open qualifier in July, from which seven golfers advance to the tournament proper. The majority of contestants are invited by the organizing committee, based on their play on the USA and World amateur and junior amateur golf circuits, and the NCAA golf tournament season.
Steve Denn, the tournament director, held court on a number of critical topics. Most important was the list of talented golfers who will compete in this year’s event. The nation’s top amateur golfers, like Justin Thomas, defending champion Patrick Rodgers, Matt NeSmith, Curtis Thompson and local champions Chris Covelli, Matt Stasiak and James Blackwell.
Other topics included course conditioning, the debut of the new, second-hole configuration (a throw-back to the original routing of A.W. Tillinghast) and recognition of the mid-amateurs in the field. In today’s amateur game, much of the talent falls between the ages of 17 and 22 and has designs on the professional game. The mid-amateur is a golfer who never played professionally or did so and regained amateur status. These workaday-world golfers, like Skip Berkmeyer, Tim Mickelson (yup, Phil’s brother), Rob Couture and Scott Harvey, are able to maintain their games at a high level while focusing on a career.