PORTER CUP: Golf tournament gets pushed back a week
By Tim Schmitt, Niagara Gazette
February 18, 2010
Winning a golf tournament means playing your best at the event’s end. But putting on a successful golf tournament is more about early leg work, such as securing top-level talent and corporate sponsorships.
For Steve Denn, the tournament director of the Porter Cup, the biggest decision has already been made. Since a Nationwide Tour event in Columbus starting offering exemptions to all first-team all-Americans, Denn decided to push the Porter Cup back a week to avoid losing any top amateur players.
That means this year’s event will start on July 28, and will finish with a fourth round on July 31.
“The biggest challenge is setting our dates and making sure nobody’s going to step on us,” Denn said. “We’re a week later, but we don’t have conflicts and that’s a very good thing.”
Denn said the invitations for this year’s tournament will be sent out at some point in the next two weeks, and he hopes to get another strong field for the 52nd year of the storied event.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely he’ll get any of the recent winners back. Brendan Gielow, a Wake Forest product and the 2009 Porter Cup winner, is a senior who is expected to turn pro after the collegiate season. The previous two winners, Adam Mitchell and Brian Harman, turned pro at the end of last summer.
Also, a pair of high-profile junior golfers — Billy Horschel and Cameron Tringale — earned their PGA Tour cards and will not return.
But the field is always ripe with up-and-coming talent as many of the PGA Tour’s top players strutted their stuff at Niagara Falls Country Club.
For example, Dustin Johnson played in the event in 2006 and 2007, finishing tied for 30th the first year, then sneaking into the top 10 his second run through.
Now, Johnson has become one of the hottest players in the PGA Tour, defending his AT&T; Pebble beach National Pro-Am last weekend with a birdie on the final hole to edge David Duval, another Porter Cup alum.
“You look at someone like Johnson, and he was a raw talent when he came to the Porter Cup,” Denn said. “Now he’s got a complete game.”
Denn said organizers are updating the tournament’s Web site (www.portercup.com) and he hopes to include links to a Walker Cup page and, eventually, video.
Also, Denn added that a book will soon be released chronicling the history of the Porter Cup. The book was authored by former Gazette sports editor Bill McGrath, who has covered more than 40 of the tournaments.