Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tiger Woods, Alex Alexander and the BC Open - Memories

Well, this is probably where I don't gain in popularity.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about the Dick's Sporting Goods tournament.  (one of the things is its somewhat unfortunate name, if you shorten the full name up a little.)  I didn't tell the entire truth in the previous post.  Fact is I had a very small (a very very very small) part in the tournament the DSGT replaced, the BC Open although it is true that I never attended the BC Open itself.  However, I had the pleasure and privilege of speaking on the phone with its founder, Alex Alexander, one of the greatest gentlemen to have graced the Triple Cities with their existence.  Mr. Alexander died earlier this year, and I was very remiss in not commenting about his death then.

 The BC Open had its moments in its almost 30 years of existence.  One of the probably most famous moment (outside this area, anyway) was the year Tiger Woods played in it.   It was 1996.  It was just about when he was thrust into the public spotlight.   Tiger tied for third.  Although the Sports Illustrated article didn't quote this, I remember very well Tiger being interviewed and letting everyone know he would never play in the BC Open again because....well, let's say he was underwhelmed by Endicott.

Well sorry we didn't lived up to your standards, Tiger.  The shame is that Endicott has gone downhill, badly downhill, in recent years.  But the Endicott of today wasn't the Endicott of 1996, before "the plume" was discovered, and before the downstate gangs discovered Endicott.  En-Joie may not have been the fanciest of golf courses but it was part of the legacy of the Johnson Family of Endicott-Johnson, and still is a gem of the Village of Endicott.  How many villages of 15,000 in this country can boast a PGA tour?  Or a decent municipal golf course, at that?  Plus, a golf course where the pros play, at "blue collar prices"?

(The BC Open was a PGA tour; it is a long and sad story how we ended up losing the Open but ended up on the Champions tour.  It even had something to do with our 2006 flood - the very last BC Open in 2006 couldn't even be played here because of all the damage.)

Finally, one more clarification regarding my enjoyment of the golf tournament yesterday: I know that golf tournaments have another element of enjoyment, the "19th hole".   I might have been a golf  newcomer but I'm not naive. But excessive drinking isn't my scene and I didn't stay long enough for the 19th hole to get going.

I know the BC Open will never return.  The Champions tour has its own strengths, and I hope to return to see it again one day.

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