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July 27, 2007

Pro golf’s roots traced to St. Andrews

Professional golf had its beginning in 1860 when the first British Open was conducted.

The early British Opens were all conducted in Scotland, the home of golf. They also were mostly won by old Tom Morris and his son.

Tom Morris was the Head Golf Professional at the home of golf, St. Andrews Golf Links. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews has been of central importance in the evolution of professional golf, both in Scotland and worldwide.

The next great professional event to take shape was the U.S. Open Golf Championship. The U.S. Open began in the year of 1895. It was initiated by the United States Golf Association which still conducts the championship today.

The U.S.G.A., which is based in Far Hills, New Jersey has conducted most of the U.S. Opens on the east coast of the United States.

I believe the most recent U.S. Open held at Oakmont was the eighth time it has been held there. Some of the other east coast golf clubs to hold several U.S. Opens are Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Long Island, Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, Merion Golf Club in Philadelphia, Pa., etc., etc.

The point being is the U.S. Open has been held at the best golf clubs for over 100 years and the U.S.G.A. has done a fabulous job setting up a course for championship golf. A great example was 2006 and 2007. The past two years have been two of the greatest championships ever conducted. What drama the U.S. Open gave us in 2006 at the 72nd hole at Winged Foot Golf Club when Geoff Ogilvy was finally crowned the champion when Mickelson, Furyk and Montgomerie all had a great chance to win.

The third professional championship to arrive on the scene was the P.G.A. Championship in 1916. It was played in a match play format until the late 1950’s. The P.G.A. had its own niche and should have kept it. They probably felt they had to make the change for television, but I feel it is the fourth-best major golf championship now.

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