This is the season for golf tournament fans to go bonkers. We’ve just completed our US men’s open, the USGA season is in full bloom and the summer amateur tours are heating up for the women and the men. Here’s a little recap and foresight on 2012:
*Remember Ivan Lendl, the tennis pro? His daugher, Isabelle, won the Women’s Eastern Amateur last week. All three Lendl sisters have played collegiate golf and we’ll see if any of the three has the interest, talent and drive to make it as a pro;
*That US Open? Forget about it. Courses that get prepped for an Open often take months or even a year to recover from the wear and tear from players, staff and public. In addition, fairways are narrowed to a sliver. When a course is awkwardly tilted, like Olympic, the driving becomes guesswork, fairways are difficult to hit and greatness gives way to whomever is hot that week;
*The International Junior Masters is next week at East Aurora Country Club. Free parking and admission all week long. Future collegiate players and touring pros cut their teeth at events like the IJM. Two years ago, western New York’s Jonathan Clark triumphed. This year, a strong local contingent will try to reclaim the title;
*With the exception of army worms, the Niagara region has benefited from that thing they called Winter. Courses are in tremendous shape; here’s hoping the superintendents get the support they need to carry conditions through the hot, water-lean months;
*Porter Cup is next month in Lewiston at Niagara Falls Country Club. We won’t see Patrick Cantlay (he just turned pro) but we might see Jordan Spieth, defender Patrick Rodgers and other amateur stalwarts. We’ll fill you in more after media day in early July;
*Keep an eye on a kid from Alabama called Bobby Wyatt. He just won the Sunnehanna Amateur in Johnstown, Pennsylvania (home of a flood and a hockey team.) This kid also shot a 57 in tournament play AS A JUNIOR. Here’s hoping he makes his way to Buffalo-Niagara for Porter Cup;
*Check out the under-new-management Spruce Ridge course in Arcade. They have nine fine holes open now, with plans to expand to 18 in a year or three. I suspect they will do it the right way, with professional architectural guidance. I was out for a photo shoot two weeks ago and plan to return for a quiet round in the foothills.