Sunday, June 1, 2008

Not like old times

The last place finisher in Saturday's Ulster County Men's Amateur Golf qualifying round shot 103. Actually, someone else may have been on the way to an even poorer round, but instead did not submit a score.

Let me make myself clear: I'd be so pleased to shoot 103, I'd frame my scorecard. But I'm not entered in a tournament to decide the county's best player.

If you shoot 103 in the qualifier -- or 100 or 95 or 90 -- you don't belong.

OK, everyone is entitled to a bad day, even good players. But 103? Not the tournament players I know. Not the players I covered in this Herdegen tournament 30 years ago.

Real local tournament players haven't gotten worse. The entry requirements for the Herdegen have.

If memory serves me correctly, you once had to have a 10 handicap or less for Herdegen consideration. No more.

Times have changed. The rigid rules of yesteryear have been loosened. The tournament has been reduced to 54 holes over three days (and players can ride carts). OK, if that's what the committee and players want, who am I to suggest otherwise?

But from where I sit, the special appeal of the Herdegen has faded away.
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