Omaha embraces its
�� Golf insiders, folks who run tournaments and attend lots of them, still marvel
at the successful 1999 U.S. Senior Open
at Des Moines CC. The Champions Tour
major in the sports-starved Iowa city
drew 250,000-plus spectators and had a
buzz rare even on the PGA Tour. Mature
golfers were greeted like rock stars.
Last week’s U.S. Senior Open at
Omaha CC was Des Moines redux,
reiterating that when a golf event is
staged somewhere it is perceived as
special—in contrast to being held in a
city loaded with pro sports—it can be a
“If you go to a place you haven’t been
before, you get the response,” said Tim
Flaherty, who is in charge of Senior
Open operations for the USGA.
Total attendance in Omaha (pop.
420,000) wasn’t quite the equal of Des
Moines—157,126 for three practice
rounds and four days of competition—
but more than 30,000 people were on
hand each of the final two rounds and
8,000 showed up on Monday.
Moreover, thanks in part to the presence of five Fortune 500 companies in
Nebraska’s largest city (including
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway
and Mutual of Omaha), the USGA set a
Senior Open record for corporate
hospitality with sales of $5.6 million,
surpassing the $5.3 million of Caves
Valley outside Baltimore in 2002.
There were more than 3,000 volunteers,
the list to help having been closed nine
months prior to the event.
“This town has smart people who
know how to do big events,” said veteran
Omaha World-Herald sportswriter
Lee Barfknecht, referring to the annual
College World Series, a Nebraska staple
since 1950, and the U.S. Olympic Team
Swimming Trials, which will be held in
Omaha for a third straight time in 2016.
“The community embraces them, and
people want to go. It’s a chance to show
It was mission accomplished at
Omaha CC. —Bill Fields
Lee caps AJGA career
with Rolex T of C win
�� It was her last individual competition
as a junior, yet Alison Lee didn’t get all
sentimental during the final round of
the Rolex Tournament of Champions
Large galleries lined Omaha CC.
ERIC FRANCIS/GETTY IMAGES; WARREN LITTLE/GETTY IMAGES
01With a finish that was alterna- tively blundering and brilliant,
Phil Mickelson wins the Scottish Open.
You won’t be hearin’ Lefty say Castle Stuart’s
a “one dimensional” course.
02 Kenny Perry adds the U.S. Senior Open to his Senior
He’s a three-time winner at Muirfield Village
and Fred Couples has seen his action up close
this year. Presidents Cup captain’s pick, anyone?
03 Jordan Spieth, seven months removed from leaving U. of
Texas early, wins his first PGA Tour event
at the John Deere Classic.
College coaches around the country are
sweating a little more wondering if their
No. 1 starter might be getting any ideas.
04 Will Wilcox is the fourth player to shoot 59 on Web.com Tour.
And the third to do it in virtual anonymity.
05 Hee Young Park ( 26 under) wins Manulife LPGA Financial
Classic in a playoff.
Proving there’s more than one Park out there
who can go crazy low.
06 Lucy Li, 10, is youngest in history to qualify for U.S.
She might not pass the height test for the
roller coaster, but she certainly seems to
have a big game.
07 Elbow surgery to shelve John Daly until late 2013/early 2014.
An overuse injury related to golf, no doubt.
08 Bob Toski, 86, has plans for a reality TV show based on his life.
If “Big Break” can find a niche, why can’t he?
09 Ohio public course prepares to offer hovercraft golf-cart
rentals to patrons.
George Jetson is suddenly looking for a fourth.