Sort of forgotten in hubub of back-to-back weeks of the State Amateur and Jeremy Ranch Showdown golf tournaments has been the University Hospital-Utah Open. And that was partly by design.
University Hospital-Utah Open director Dick Alexander says the Open hasn't been publicized much yet this summer so as not to knock heads with big events like the State Am and Showdown. But the day after the Showdown ended, the publicity drought ended with a media day at Willow Creek where the events of Utah Open week, August 15-21 were unveiled.It will all begin Monday of that week with the qualifying round for those players who are not exempt. About 50 players will qualify that day. The following day, the women's pro-am will be played with the men's pro-am set for Wednesday.
On Thursday, a new event, the Corporate Pro-Am, will be played, replacing the Celebrity Pro-Am of recent years. The Corporate Pro-am will be a more streamlined version of the former event with a half a dozen or so celebrites including the likes of Johnny Bench, Merlin Olsen and Frank Layden. Also on Thursday, a derby will be played where corporate sponsors will be paired with professionals, along with a long drive contest featuring three former national winners - Wedgy Winchester, Mike Gorton and Andy Franks - and the Utah/District 9B champion Kurt Moore.
The main event starts Friday with the corporate dinner slated for that evening. Play will continue Saturday and Sunday.
Once again, it will be a $100,000 tournament with $20,000 going to the winner. Defending champion Perry Arthur is expected back as are 1986 champ Clark Burroughs, 1982 champion Larry Webb and 1981 winner Jimmy Blair.
Mike Reid, who won in 1983 and 1985, Dick Zokol, the 1984 champion, along with former runnerups Jay Don Blake and Keith Clearwater, could all end up playing again this year. It will depend on how they do at The International golf tournament in Colorodo that week. If they are eliminated early they will most likely fly in for the Friday start.
Tickets for the tournament are available and can be obtained by calling the University Hospital (581-4401) or Willow Creek (942-1956).
JUNIORS COMING TO UTAH: Another big golf tournament in Utah next month that hasn't been receiving much notice is the Junior America's Cup, which will be played at the Ogden Country Club Aug. 1-4.
The annual tournament features 4-man junior teams from 17 golf associations from the Western United States, Canada and Mexico. The 4-man teams compete for three days with the low three scores counting each day. The golfers must be 17 and under.
"Many of golf's future stars will be here," says Utah Golf Association president Joe Watts, who points out that Fred Couples and Jay Don Blake were among the participants the last time the tournament was played in Utah in 1976. The Utah team will consist of Joseph Summerhays, David Summerhays, Scott Brockbank and Will Huish, and tournament officals feel the Utah team has a good chance of winning.
STEP ASIDE DUKAKIS, BUSH: As a golf writer you always get interesting things in the mail, like an invitation to come to Dallas to see a new golf product "breakthrough" or a patch (to put on your golf shirt, I guess) from the Optimist Junior Golf World Championships.
The above items recently arrived the same day as a large "Palmer for President" button, featuring a caricature of Arnold Palmer, in front of several microphones, index finger raised, with the Capitol in the backgroud.
The campaign, endorsed by Golf Digest Magazine, is the brainchild of Clayton Hoskins, a Columbus, Ohio attorney, who has some logical reasons why Arnie should run the country.
"At 58, he is exactly the right age. His name recognition within the United States is greater than all the candidates thrown together . . . Internationally he has been one of the most recognized and identifiable Americans for two generations. People know him and like him."
Hoskins also has a list of possible cabinet members, including Nancy Lopez for vice president ("Can you imagine anyone voting against Nancy for anything?" he asks) and Chi Chi Rodriguez as Ambassador to the United Nations.
One thing Hoskins failed to mention was the fact that Palmer could also wipe out the memory about the last golfing president - good old Gerald (Fore!) Ford.
COURSE REOPENING: This Saturday, the West Bountiful Golf Course will have a grand re-opening at 9 a.m. with dignitaries and media invited.
The course, formerly called Spring Meadows, was recently purchased by Bountiful City and several thousand dollars worth of renovation have been done. Just last Friday, the clubhouse was re-carpeted for the first time in more than 20 years.
But the golf course, a par-36, 9-hole facility measuring just under 3,000 yards, isn't making any major changes, according to new head pro Mike Bicker.
"I think this place is a well-kept secret," says Bicker. "It's got great practice facilities, with a driving range and a couple of practice greens. The greens out here are the finest I know of. I think they're every bit as good as Willow Creek."
The West Bountiful Course is at 1100 West, 1200 North. Cost is $4.50 on weekdays and $5 on weekends.