'I was there, but left in the 6th inning,' said Joe Durant. 'I went back to my hotel to watch the finish on t.v. and when they decided to call it I said NO. Don't do that!'
Buick Classic winner Chris Smith was there as well and has an idea as to how to finish things off the next time managers run out of pitchers. 'Let's just bring in a strong-armed outfielder and have a home-run derby,' Smith quipped! 'But let's set the record straight. I wasn't booing. I didn't want to set a bad example for the kids.'
When it comes to the Greater Milwaukee Open, Smith need not worry about any bad behavior. This week's golf is actually great fun for the kids. In fact, you might be hard pressed to find a tournament that is supported better by the community than this one.
With brats on the burner and beverages flowing just as fast, the only thing more popular at Brown Deer each year is birdies. And you can expect plenty of them! This course is less than 6,800 yards in length. Its only true defense is the rough. But last year's winning total of 18-under-par was the highest total in the last four years. Two-time GMO champ Loren Roberts won it in 2000 at 24-under.
The fan favorites are the same each year. Four native Wisconsin boys are in the field. Led by last week's champ Jerry Kelly who lost a playoff to Roberts in 1996 and finished third in 1999. Steve Stricker is here along with Skip Kendall and J.P. Hayes. Hayes is actually the one with the best recent record here. He's finished third each of the last two years.
Yet, none of Wisconsin's favorite sons has ever won the tournament. And as Stricker admits, 'The pressure's mounting.'
This tournament is actually one of the Tour's best kept little secrets. Quaint atmosphere, fans who appreciate the tournament for more than just 'who's in the field,' and a golf course that many in attendance have actually played for about $30.
Nobody asked me, but I like Skip Kendall this week to represent the Badger Boys the best. But watch out for the likes of Neal Lancaster who qualified for the British Open on the strength of strong finishes the last few weeks, and perhaps a couple young guns. Bryce Molder is a non-member who has made nearly $300,000 in 10 starts this year. And Charles Howell nearly won the tournament last year. He's all smiles this week for some reason. Maybe he knows something we don't!
I do know this. This Milwaukee sporting event won't end in a tie, and one look at any of the concession stands and you realize they won't run out of pitchers either!