State golf spotlight on PCC

The West Virginia Open -which begins today at the Parkersburg Country Club with a shootout -is much more than a golf tournament.

It’s a six-day event that showcases the best the state of West Virginia in general and the Mid-Ohio Valley in particular has to offer.

Obviously, the center of attention will be the Parkersburg Country Club, where the state’s best golfers will compete in its biggest annual tournament.

PCC professional Scott Davidson and his dedicated staff will go all-out to see that their guests are treated to both a great tournament and a great time. It’s a major commitment of the club’s resources, but one that will pay off with tons of good will.

As much as I am looking forward to the biggest golf tournament to hit the area in decades, I’m particularly interested in Tuesday’s dinner of past Open champions, featuring a tribute to long-time PCC professional and general manager Larry Martin, one of the best friends both I and the game of golf ever had.

No one did more for youth golf in West Virginia than Martin, who was taken from us last year at the young age of 58. Martin was the founder of the Top Flite Junior Tour, which he ran for more than two decades.

Pro, as Larry was known, was credited with ensuring that the Parkersburg Country Club succeeded financially at a time when many other clubs were failing. He did so with his extreme dedication and tireless work, tending to every detail, no matter how small or how time consuming. He had that “whatever it takes” tireless attitude that is the trait of all great employees.

Speaking of Golf: First, what was the United States Golf Association thinking when it selected the Merion Golf Club to serve as the site for the 2013 U.S. Open?

Yes, it’s a difficult course worthy of such a great tournament but it has been a logistical nightmare for the participating players and the fans.

It’s simply too small a venue to conduct such a major championship. Golf writer Rick Reilly and golf legend Curtis Strange both have been highly critical of its selection.

Having said that, it still has provided us with three fascinating days of golf and is bound to continue that streak today, simply because it is the final day of our national championship.

Plus, with seven players within two strokes of the lead -including four Americans -we virtually are assured a dramatic finish.

Let’s hope NBC realizes that the world’s top golfers -Tiger Woods and Rory McElroy – are too far back to be in contention and concentrates on those who can win the tournament rather than show every shot by the Big Two.

Merion is a quirky course with a 98-yard hole you would expect to see more at Minibel than the U.S. Open and another hole where there is no gallery because there is no room for one.

But it may be about to give us a fantastic finish, so we’ll be watching.

Contact Dave Poe at dpoe@newsandsentinel.com