Press-Republican

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.

The final and fourth major golf championship to arrive on the scene was the Masters.This was the brainchild of the great Bobby Jones and his business associate, Clifford Roberts. They convinced all the professional cronies and the best amateurs to come down to Augusta, Georgia in the early spring to compete for the green jacket.

The tournament has the distinction of being the only major to be played on the same golf course every single year. The Augusta National Golf Club is, without a doubt, one of the nicest, if not the nicest, golf courses in the world.

I have had the great pleasure to be at several Masters Championships and the roar at the Masters is like no other.

Well, we have one more major golf championship this year in August and I’m sure it is going to go right down to the wire like the first three major championships did this year.



TIP OF THE WEEK: Swing a weighted club to increase strength.



WHAT IS THE RULE? What is the penalty for hitting the wrong golf ball in stroke play competition?

The penalty for hitting the wrong golf ball in stroke play is two shots.