On Tuesday, Section VI boys golf coordinator, Nate Leary, and I took part in the annual Media Day presser and golfer at Niagara Falls country club. The club did some fancy carpentry work a few years back, moving the cart facility (formerly adjacent to the clubhouse locker rooms) to the site of the old practice putting green. In its place, the club built a new space for meetings, announcements and dinners. During the informational portion of the session, Marty Shimmel and tournament director Tim Drabik welcomed the assembled contingent and gave a briefing on what to expect from the event. Player director Cassie Stein then briefed the fourth estate on the invitees and qualifiers.

In 2018, contestants will come from as close as Grand Island (James Blackwell) and as far as China (Matthew Cheung and Tianlang Guan), Argentina (Marin Contini and the Montenegro brothers) and Australia (a 3-man contingent.) For the first time, a competitor from Kazakhstan, Daulet Tuleubayev, will compete in the Porter Cup. Tuleubayev will attend, and compete for, Stanford University in the fall of 2018.

Other important contestants include Matt Parziale, the low amateur from the 2018 US Open and (more importantly) a firefighter from Brockton, Massachusetts; Brandon Wu (the defending champion); Garrett Rank (NHL referee and US Open qualifier); and Shae Wools-Cobb (28th ranked player in the world.) The tournament’s first round is Wednesday, July 18th. The event concludes on Saturday, July 21st.

After the briefing, we had a chance to put the golf course to the test. Nate and I were paired with Channel 4’s Josh .@4JoshReed Reed and WGR’s Sal .@salsports Capaccio for the round. Both Reed and Capaccio showed some serious game, although all 4 of us were taken by the speed of the putting surfaces. He who wields the flat stick best next week, will surely contend. Confusing golf with another great summer pastime, Reed opted for the beach on more than one occasion. Sal, on the other hand, fired bullet after bullet off the tee, flighted drives that optimized their run-out.

Fortunately for area golf fans, the best golfers (and not this august foursome) will be on the tee next week. Be sure to attend this free-of-charge event and marvel at the skills of the world’s finest amateur golfers.