By John Craig
As a golf fan, this Father’s Day weekend means some time spent watching the U.S. Open – I hope. I do have a 2 ½ year old daughter who take priority, that’s for sure, and the reason I’m celebrating at all. She’s too young to want to sit and watch people walk and whack and walk and whack – something I find fascinating. I didn’t think much of it either in my early years but as I got older, I came to appreciate not only watching it with my father but then taking that “good walk spoiled” with him, too.
We were supposed to play this week but weather and work didn’t cooperate. (Cue the Harry Chapin song, "Cat's it the Cradle")
As a golfer, golf reporter and fan, I thought you might like a few nuggets of news about the tournament at Pinehurst this year. I will offer up a couple of USGA-provided “Infographics” for the casual golf fan.
The final round of the U.S. Open has been played on Father’s Day since 1965 and there have been ten father-son pairings who have played in the U.S. Open that include a champion. The father and son did not necessarily play in the same Open. In seven of the 10 pairings, the father is the champion.
Here’s the list (no Craigs to be found):
Tom Sr. & Willie Anderson (Champion 1901, ’03, ’04, ’05)
Julius (Champion ’52, ’53) & Guy Boros
Johnny (Champion ’28) & Billy Farrell
Hale (Champion ’74, ’79, ’90) & Steve Irwin
Johnny (Champion ’73) & Andy Miller
Jack (Champion ’62, ’67, ’72, ’80) & Gary Nicklaus
Gary (Champion ’65) & Wayne Player
George (Champion ’09) & Alfred & Harold Sargent
Bill & Payne Stewart (Champion ‘91, ’99)
Tom Jr. & Curtis Strange (Champion ‘88, ’89)
Additionally, the USGA is introducing a new program to encourage golfers to make time to fit the game into a busy lifestyle, something I can relate to. National “Play 9 Day” is planned for Wednesday, July 23.
RELEASE FROM USGA
VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. (June 11, 2014) – The United States Golf Association (USGA), together with American Express, officially launched the “Play 9” program today to demonstrate how nine-hole rounds can help more golfers enjoy the game in less time.
A creative USGA public service announcement (PSA) starring Rickie Fowler will debut during 2014 U.S. Open Championship television coverage, showing the 25-year-old PGA Tour pro finding time to play the game with family and friends while still fulfilling other daily commitments and interests.
“I don’t always have enough time to play a full round between practice and spending time with friends and family,” said Fowler. “I’m happy to join the USGA and American Express on ‘Play 9’ to encourage golfers to play a nine-hole round, especially if that’s what’s going to get them out onto the golf course to play more often.”
At the forefront of the USGA’s multi-year commitment to promote “Play 9” is the first annual “Play 9 Day” on Wednesday, July 23, when all golfers will be encouraged to play a nine-hole round. The program builds on the organization’s ongoing efforts to make the game more accessible, sensitive to time considerations and sustainable.
“During our extensive conversations with golfers, we’ve learned that they feel challenged by the time it takes to play,” said Mike Davis, executive director of the USGA. “By creating awareness of the nine-hole round, and the many ways that one can enjoy the game in less time, we hope this creative program featuring one of the game’s more dynamic and progressive players will energize and remind golfers how they can fit the game into their days.”
“American Express is excited to partner with the USGA and Rickie Fowler to support the game by encouraging more people to play nine-hole rounds,” said Deborah Curtis, vice president of sports and entertainment marketing at American Express.
“With their support, we want ‘Play 9’ to demonstrate how golf can fit into the everyday lives of players – giving golfers everywhere a chance to play more often.”
Industry research indicates there is growing interest in this format of play.
According to the National Golf Foundation, 27 percent – more than 4,000 – of America’s courses are nine-hole facilities. In addition, nine-hole rounds can be played at most 18-hole public facilities. However, just 24 percent of total rounds played last year, among those surveyed, were nine-hole rounds.
A separate study conducted in 2013 by Sports & Leisure Research Group for the USGA found that 33 percent of core golfers (those who play eight to 24 rounds annually) and 38 percent of casual golfers (those who play seven rounds or fewer) would play more nine-hole rounds if the format were “more strongly encouraged.”
The “Play 9” program will provide golfers and golf courses with resources that will allow them to celebrate the nine-hole round and the game in a variety of ways, including finding time to enjoy a nine-hole match with friends and post an official score, or even take a lesson.
To view the PSA and to learn more, visit www.usga.org/play9. All golfers are encouraged to share their photos and experiences via social media using #play9golf.
About the USGA
The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches, attracting players and fans from more than 160 countries.
Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, equipment standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA’s reach is global with a working jurisdiction in the United States, its territories and Mexico, serving more than 25 million golfers and actively engaging 150 golf associations.
The USGA is one of the world’s foremost authorities on research, development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and invests in the development of the game through the delivery of its services and its ongoing “For the Good of the Game” grants program. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents in more than 50 countries.
For more information about the USGA, visit www.usga.org.
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