The SportsTalk Shop: A Non-Football Sports Event This Weekend

While high school football is now in full swing and the Philadelphia Eagles—and the NFL—will be kicking off its season, there’s a rather important non-football event taking place within the RCN viewing area. The 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship will be held at the Saucon Valley Country Club in Hellertown.

Here are some golf experts’ thoughts on the course, SVCG’s history of big-time events and thoughts on this year’s tournament.

Just for the record, these guys know their golf. Gene Marrate is the General Manager and Director of Golf Operations at Saucon Valley Country Club. Robin McCool is not only SVCG’s Greens Committee Chairman, but a 15-time USGA Champion Qualifier, 7-time U.S. Mid-Amateur participant and a 10-time champ at SVCG. Both are in the Lehigh Valley Golf Hall of Fame. Barry Treadwell is the Mid-Am Chairperson and has accepted a massive undertaking in handling the challenging role of operations at the national Mid-Amateur Championship which is spread out over two courses. When they say this event is going to be unlike most golf tournaments many have ever seen, you can believe it to be true.

But this is not the first time that Saucon Valley has gained national attention. Here are some of the country club’s highlighted events, which include bringing in huge names in the world of golf like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Paula Cramer to name a few:

1951 US Amateur Championship
1983 US Jr. Amateur Championship
1987 US Sr. Amateur Championship
1992 US Sr. Open Championship
2000 US Sr. Open Championship
2009 US Women’s Open Championship
2014 US Mid-Amateur Championship

As for this year’s amateur event, there’s one big enticement for people who want to see some high-quality golf action…and to be right up-close-and-personal with some of the country’s best golfers:

This year’s event is absolutely free.

There is no charge for any of this year’s action, which gives you a golden opportunity to walk around one of the most majestic golf courses and country clubs, and for free, experience a world-class event within a short drive for many Lehigh Valley residents. The Championship actually starts September 4-5 when you can watch the golfers participate in practice rounds. Then the action kicks into high gear on September 6 with the first round. Here is the championship’s schedule and which courses will be used:

Sept. 6 & 7 – Stroke Play Rounds (The “Old Course” & Weyhill)
Sept. 8, 9 & 10 – Match Play Rounds (Old Course)
Sept. 11 – 36-hole Final (Old Course)

High school football will be in full swing again this weekend, but if you want to take a quick break from the pigskin action and check out something unique to this area, check out this major sports event happening at Saucon Valley.

What events will you be watching this weekend? Have you experienced one of the major golf tournaments at a course in the Eastern Pennsylvania region? Post your golfing thoughts on our site or email us at RCNSportsTalk@rcn.com.

 

 

Behind the Mic: Why not baseball?

This past Saturday night, second-base umpire Mike Estabrook called pinch runner Kyle Kendrick of the Phillies out at second base on a pick-off play in the ninth inning. Replay showed that the Milwaukee Brewer shortstop tagged Kendrick without the ball. No one saw the ball come free and roll into the bare hand of the shortstop. The Phils were down 4-3 at the time and the next Phillies batter doubled, but was left stranded. Right call = tie game; wrong call = lost game.

Baseball only uses replay for home run calls and, within the last two weeks, the umpires even got a home run call wrong. In the American league championship series last year, a Detroit player was called safe at second and TV replay showed the runner was out and the inning would have ended. Detroit scored two runs in the inning and won 3-0. There is a remedy to these bad calls. The NFL, NBA, NHL, major tennis tournaments, and some NCAA sports all use a form of instant replay. Why not baseball?

A subcommittee made up of Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa, and Atlanta Braves president John Schuerholtz will make recommendations for 2014. At first, consideration was to use replay only for a trap play and fair/foul. Now, all plays are being considered.

Baseball Instant Replay Concerns

  1. Do you allow a challenge system by the managers, much like NFL football?
  2. Do you use a replay official in the booth?
  3. Do you use replay for all situations?
  4. How much will replay disrupt the game?
  5. Will it add even more time to a game which most people think takes too long now?

All these questions will be answered soon. Eliminate the arguments, take some of the pressure off the umpires, and get the call right. After all, isn’t that the most important element?

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. Speaking of baseball, as of May 15, there were 21 weather-related postponements, the same total as all of last year.
  2. Did you know that no other state has hosted more USGA championships than Pennsylvania? The number is 80 entering 2013. Merion golf Club, the venue for the US Open in 2 weeks and Oakmont Country Club in Pittsburgh are the top two. They are the only two to host more USGA events than our own Saucon Valley Country Club which has hosted six. Saucon Valley will host their seventh in 2014 when 264 players converge at the club’s Old Course and the Weyhill course from September 5-11 for the Mid-Amateur Championship. 4,000 golfers attempt to qualify for this event. These are “true amateurs” who are over 25, with handicaps at 3.4 or less and have real jobs like the rest of us. The winner has an exemption for the Masters.
  3. The NHL hockey playoffs are experiencing some good ratings for NBC and, particularly, for the NBC Sports Network. The May 29 Western Conference Semifinal Game 7 between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings posted a 2.07 rating and averaged 3.354 million viewers, making it the highest-rated NHL game ever on NBC Sports Network, and the most-watched Semifinal game ever on cable.
  4. Congratulations to Parkland, Tamaqua, Salisbury, and Tri-Valley for winning District XI baseball championships this past week. On to states for them and for us. We have the PIAA state championships LIVE on PCN, Friday, June 14, beginning at 10:30 AM.
  5. I am hosting Sportstalk this Thursday (June 6) and the panel will be discussing the best 5 high school football players at various positions. Dick Tracy, Dennis Laub, Jack Logic and Joe Craig will offer their lists. I am putting my list together. There have been some great ones over the years Join us with your opinions. I am sure there will be many.