It’s time to tee it up for the 2012 golf season. There has been plenty of golf news in the since we last visited, so let’s get to it.
First, congratulations to the talented Ellen Port, who captured her fourth USGA national championship at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Am.
Port, who turned 50 in September, did not begin playing competitive golf until she was in her 20s. For all of her accomplishments, she was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in January. Also included in the 2012 class was the late Bob Cochran, who was an outstanding amateur golfer from St. Louis.
“I was honored to be counted among one of Missouri’s best—and surprised, as I was under the impression that the Hall of Fame’s honors usually were extended after one’s career was over,” Port says. “Since I am still playing, I was caught off guard a bit with the invitation.”
It was a daylong affair that began with a gathering of all the inductees, including former St. Louis Cardinal All-Star Jim Edmonds.
“I thanked the Hall of Fame for including me in this year’s class,” Port says. “I had a little bit of fun with the fact that I was the only gal up there. I thanked my family and friends, who have been ‘outlandish’ in their support and belief in me. And I thanked God for giving me my passion and abilities—short and sweet, but I really enjoyed the opportunity to express my gratitude to so many.”
Port’s husband, Andy, was there along with their children, Drew and Katie. Her mother, Cornelia Long, and her brother, Brett, also attended, along with uncles, aunts, cousins and friends.
“I had quite a diverse group of friends come down to celebrate,” she says. “It was a wonderful time to reconnect and reminisce. I think everyone had a really good time.”
Being included in the Hall of Fame is meaningful to Port. “It means that I have had quite a successful golf career,” she says. “It also means a lot to me that I had friends who took it upon themselves to submit my resume to the Hall of Fame selection committee. Of course, I did not know the extent of this until after I was inducted, but I was touched by those who wanted to see me in the Missouri Hall of Fame.”
Port, indeed, deserved the recognition. She has won four U.S. Mid-Amateur titles, captured the Women’s Trans National title in 1994, and has qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur 10 times and the U.S. Women’s Open three times. She also played on two Curtis Cup teams in 1994 and 1996.
Looking to 2012, Port, who teaches at John Burroughs School, has not solidified her schedule yet. She likely will play in her usual events in the state. She is exempt for the Women’s U.S. Amateur in early August, and says she will try to add at least one other national event into the mix in preparation for the U.S. Amateur.
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
The Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association (MAGA) celebrated its 2011 Players of the Year with its 18th annual edition of its awards night earlier this month. Awards were given to: Skip Berkmeyer (Men’s), Jeff Johnson (Senior Men’s), Ellen Port (Women’s) and Tina Jones (Senior Women’s).
Also at the banquet, the MAGA recognized Carol Fromuth with its Meritorious Service Award. Fromuth’s contribution and dedication to junior golf in St. Louis has been undeniable. She also was the recipient of the Ike Granger Award from the USGA for her service of 25 years on the U.S. Girls’ Junior Committee in 2011.
At last month’s 2012 USGA annual meeting, three names in the St. Louis golf community earned recognition: Tom O’Toole Jr. was elected to his second term as VP on the USGA executive committee. Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association president Stan Grossman was awarded the Joe Dey Award. Jim Holtgrieve, the 2011 and 2013 Walker Cup Captain, also was recognized at the Bob Jones Award Dinner for his USGA accomplishments.
Grossman has been a volunteer member of the Junior Amateur committee since 1982. In this role, Grossman has been an effective ambassador for the USGA, welcoming generations of junior golfers to the USGA family.
“Stan has been an outstanding member of the committee,” former USGA president Reed Mackenzie notes. “Stan has always personified the Association’s mission of promoting and conserving the best interests of the game, particularly among young golfers.”
Named for the USGA’s executive director from 1934 to 1969, the Joe Dey Award annually recognizes one of the thousands of volunteers whose contributions are integral to carrying out the USGA’s activities.
Grossman also served as a rules official at both the U.S. Open and the U.S. Senior Open from 1996 to 2007. In addition to volunteering with the USGA, Grossman has played a key role with the MAGA since its founding in 1992. He has been president of the MAGA since 1998.
We’ll be back again next month. If you have golf news or a suggestion for the column, you can contract me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, you can’t birdie them all unless you birdie the first hole.