With the United States Golf Association in town this week to stage its Women’s State Team Championship at NCR Country Club, I asked NCR general manager Steve Bolerjack if the club has any intention of applying for one of the USGA’s more prestigious events in the near future.
“We don’t have a major spectator event pending right now,” Bolerjack replied. “We think maybe the best fit, if there would be one in the future, would be the U.S. Senior Open. So much depends on if the Dayton market is right to support it.”
NCR South, which hosted the PGA Championship in 1969, probably could not get that event or a US. Open for a number of reasons. At 7,000 yards, the course isn’t long enough to contain the big hitters on the PGA Tour. And the Miami Valley’s lack of financial muscle is an even bigger factor. There is no longer much potential here for the necessary corporate sponsorships.
With its two 18-hole courses, NCR would seem to be a great fit for the U.S. Amateur Championship just as it was for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in 1998. Both tournaments require two courses. So I asked USGA representative Matt Sawicki if the U.S. Amateur might be a possibility for NCR South. He didn’t offer much hope.
Sawicki said the U.S. Amateur is becoming so popular that any club putting its name in the hat now would have to wait 15 years for the opportunity. He suggested that NCR might have a shot at the U.S,. Junior Amateur Championship, which is becoming very popular.
“Look at Jordan Spieth,” he said, referring to the PGA Tour rookie from Texas who won the John Deere Classic two weeks before his 20th birthday and is 13th on the money list. “He won the Junior Amateur two years ago.”
Sawicki said he thought the South course was a good test for the U.S. Senior Open in 2005.
The Women’s State Team Championship is not one that typically draws large crowds, but Bolerjack said NCR Country Club was pleased to be chosen to host it for a couple of reasons.
“It’s one of the newer events,” he pointed out. “We liked that idea. It seemed like an interesting event, having the team concept. We’ve seen how popular the Ryder Cup and Sollheim Cup events have become. And if you host a championship, you’re in the conversation (for future events) with the USGA.”
Sawicki said the USGA was pleased to be able to stage the Women’s State Team Championship on a course of NCR South’s caliber.
“We saw that we had an invitation from NCR and we jumped at it,” Sawicki said. “Many will walk away from here and say this is the best place where we’ve conducted a state team championship. This will be the first time we’ve had a full field of 156 players.”
Fifty-two teams of three (Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are eligible) will tee it up Tuesday morning for the first of three 18-hole rounds. The previous high was 51 teams.