‘Tis the Season

e-mail Pete

In California they call their weather this time of year “June Gloom”. In Maryland, the phrase applies for sports fans. Collegiate sports are done. The Ravens still have nearly two months till training camp. The Orioles really begin in earnest their meaningless battle for 4th place. We have no NBA or NHL.

The landscape is bleak, but not completely barren. We do have golf. In fact, really good golf.

Next week in Harford County, the LPGA comes to town and not for just a regular tournament. They battle for a Major Title. The LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock runs June 8-11. Annika Sorenastam tries to defend her title against the brat pack of teen phenoms like Michelle Wie and Paula Creamer. If you haven’t made the trip up I-95 to this public course gem, go. The layout is gorgeous. The quality of play will surprise you (many of the ladies routinely hitting 290-300 yard drives). And it’s not that crowded. You can walk side by side with the best women golfers in the world.

Two weeks later in Montgomery County the PGA Tour makes its annual stop with the Booz Allen Classic. Now last year, we were really treated to something special. The event moved down the street from the TPC Avenel to its former home of Congressional Country Club, one of the top ten golf courses in the country. The prestigious one year hiatus from Avenel for course improvements brought together one of the best fields of the non major season. Sergio Garcia torched the vaunted course besting eight of the top ten players in the world along the way.

The event loses some juice this year with its return to Avenel, a course even with improvements, remains a pedestrian stop on tour. I played the course today as part of a media event. Pedestrian sounds harsh, just like the six inch rough and unreadable greens, but the slogan is true. These guys are good. Garcia said during a satellite Q&A today that after playing in the U.S. Open the course will seem easy.

That’s one of the big problems with this event. Its history typically has it slated the week before, or week after the U.S. Open. Most top players skip the event prior to a major, same story for the event after. Not to mention, mid June outside of D.C. is just brutal. Under Armour can’t make a shirt to absorb all that sweat.

The Booz Allen Classic’s spot in the calendar though will change. And many in the area cry foul. They say by moving the event to October makes it irrelevant. They like the spot in the heart of the PGA Tour season. But for the reasons mentioned prior, the move has to be good. The weather’s great in autumn and they don’t get the best players anyway. Instead they might attract better battles as players fight to retain Tour Cards with a top 125 finish in money.

Of course a move to October also leaves us with just one significant, major league, sporting event, statewide, for the month of June. Wait a second. Nevermind. Fight to keep the tourney in June. I need the material.

e-mail Pete

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