Before the O.C., there was the B.C.--Not with a bang, but a whimper
Long before the O.C. became the fashionable and troubled county it is today, Broome County, New York gave birth to the creator of one of the most endearing cartoon strips of the 20th century. Johnny Hart created Thor, Grog, Clumsy Carp, Wiley, Fat Broad, Peter, Curls, and of course, B.C. himself. The strip was so successful that the town of Endicott named its PGA tournament after the strip, and the B.C. Open was born.
Endicott is a down-state, not-quite-in-the-catskills city that saw its share of glory years. Endicott-Johnson, the shoe company, joined its first last in the city. Just up the road, SUNY-Binghamton is arguably the finest school in an excellent state system. Golf courses like Conklin Players Club and the Links at Hiawatha Landing attract golfers to the region.
Smack dab in the middle of Endicott sits the laughably-named En-Joie (it’s pronounced like you think it is) Country Club, a public facility. Across the street is a run-down econo lodge I’ve had the pleasure to occupy on occasion. This is not what you would expect from the PGA Tour, and it is something that the PGA Tour should have. With a whimper, Tim Finchem announced that the B.C. Open would no longer have a place on the PGA Tour Schedule as of 2007:
–In regard to the B.C. Open in Endicott, N.Y., Finchem said, “We are looking for a position elsewhere within the PGA TOUR family for its continuation, either on the Champions Tour or Nationwide Tour. We believe it could perform well on either Tour."–
En-Joie was redesigned in the 1990s by a guy you might have heard of: Michael Hurdzan. In all fairness, he took a substandard course and brought it up to tour standards. Is it a birdie fest? Absolutely. While the top players in the world are suffering at the Open Championship half a world away in the British isles, more birdies come down than opening day of duck season (wabbit season, duck season … all right, I’ll stop.)
Sadly, we saw this coming. Out with the old, the small, and in with the new, the flashy. Will the FedEx Cup Series attract new fans to golf? Perhaps. Is Finchem threatened by the spate of attractive (in many ways) new stars of the LPGA tour? Perhaps. What I know is this: the towns of Endicott, Binghamton, and their neighbors deserved a chance to bring the best of the best to their town, one week of the year. Not the best of the old, not the best of the maybe, but the best of the best, sir. Even Tiger played in a B.C. Open, back in 1996, when he was first earning his card.
|« Bowditch: THE Story of the Bob Hope Classic||Roswell Park Cancer Institute: A Break From Golf »|