Golf Bucks County

By Bob Oliver

Middletown Country Club

Middletown is a compact 80 acres of challenging golf, with rolling hills and large specimen trees that have watched many golfers travel its fairways over time. It has retained its old time feel with tees and greens in close proximity, allowing golfers to walk the course if they choose.

The Traveling Golfer

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Chamblee keeps it real

Written by Bob Oliver on .

 

Everyone has an opinion.  Cable channels are full of those spouting views that create havoc, that evoke emotion.

Sports talk radio receives big ratings in cities across the nation. Maybe not as much as the news, but after straight news people like to "speak" with their radio on the way to work or around town. 

The Golf Channel has long been a place where all facets of golf can be listened to and viewed, from instruction to information to, well, opinions. And these days, information and opinion, can generate controversy. And today's poster child for opinion is Brandel Chamblee.

Chamblee, a journeyman PGA Tour player at best, has developed into someone whose opinions shake and bake the golf world.  Like Johnny Miller, who grazed the NBC telecasts before his retirement, Chamblee is never at a loss for words. 

Chamblee keeps it real.

Chamblee unfiltered fires opinions from the hip. He calls things as his mind sees them, seemingly without regard for the toes he steps on or the players he offends. Heck there was even a dustup with Eldrick Tiger Woods that made headlines for weeks. 

Players never like being called out, a natural feeling. Criticism is a part of the game of course, and there are always many sides to a story or situation. Emotions come out. Chamblee isn't afraid of spouting his opinion and that results in talk, more talk and controversy. Still, it's something he excels at. 

That said, appearances aren't everything. Away from the red light of the camera he's also never at a loss for words, a great interview and willing to provide thought provoking dialogue. 

He smiled at the question. "I merely try to be myself and give the viewer my take on things. I'm not saying I'm right or wrong, but it's my option shaped by years of being involved in this great game," said Chamblee earlier this year. "I don't get paid to keep my thoughts to myself, to keep them hidden away. I get paid to think and them get those thoughts onto the air. Yes, I have some opinions that might be considered controversial, but so be it."

Philadelphia holds a special place in Chamblee's golf mind. 

"No question Philadelphians are sports fanatics. It is a great town for golf, and I wish the Tour was here more often. There are some great courses, from Merion to Philadelphia Cricket Club and Pine Valley. There is a storied golf history here.

"The folks here are passionate about sports, they are fanatics. And I love the area."

On the tube Chamblee is never at a loss for his opinion. 

"Look, the viewer is obviously watching things. They can see. I can help interpret or give   an inside the ropes analysis. What was a player thinking at that moment. What variables were present. How the player approaches a situation. How he executed play, how he didn't."

He does not shy away from opinion, although sometimes, upon further review, he might wish he's stated something a little differently.

"But I've got to be me."

Chamblee is one of a kind.  

Area was part of Nelson's 11-win streak

Written by Bob Oliver on .

It's a rainy day and the mind was wandering before settling on the Delaware Valley's history with professional golf.

The area has been lucky to host United States Opens, PGA Championships and a few tour events.  These days such efforts are few and far between.

Did you know Torresdale-Frankford (Union League Club) down the road from Bensalem hosted a PGA Tour event? Absolutely. The year was 1944 and Torresdale saw Sam Boyd post a 10-under-par 274 total to score a 7-shot win over Craig Wood who had claimed the 1941 US Open and Masters.  

The event at the time was the Philadelphia Inquirer Open Invitational, and was in the first year of a six year event on the tour. The event was also held at Llanerch, when Byron Nelson won its seventh straight PGA Tour event that extended to 11, as well as Cedarbrook and Whitemarsh Valley. 

Whitemarsh Valley was also host to the longest lasting PGA Tour event played in the area, as under numerous names (Whitemarsh Open, Philadelphia Golf Classic, IVB-Philadelphia Golf Classic, and IVB Bicentennial Golf Classic.  That event regularly drew great players and scores of fans. Winners included Jack Nicklaus (three times), Arnold Palmer, Billy Casper, Tom Kite and Tom Weiskopf in its 18 years from 1963-1980. 

Merion has hosted five United States Open Championships, while Aronimink hosted both the PGA Championship and Senior PGA Championship.  

Pennsbury grad Nick Napoleon played in the PGA Tour's SEI Pennsylvania Golf Classic at Waynesboro. 

Chester Valley hosted numerous Senior PGA tour events, and occasionally White Manor filled in. But since 2001 the men have evaded the area other than for a major or a one-year run of Tiger's tournament when normal host Congressional was undergoing renovations and Aronimink substituted. 

These days, with the COVID dominating most of our thoughts, one doesn't think about tour golf, but on a rainy day it happens. 

Erica Herr nabs Women's Open spot

Written by Bob Oliver on .

There are 114 players currently in the field for the United States Women's Open. One of them is 17-year-old Council Rock junior Erica Herr.

 

Herr joined 85 exempt players in the field by winning the sectional qualifier at Butler Country Club with a 74-78--152 effort in brutal weather conditions. She earned medalist honors over Waynesburg's Rachel Rohanna by a stroke, earning a ticket to the Open which is slated for Sebonack Golf Club on Long Island.

 

The PIAA Class AAA two-time defending state champion joined LPGA players such as Laura Diaz, Jennifer Rosales, Becky Morgan, Christina Kim and Janice Moody as players who advance to the final 156-woman Open field. Sectonal qualifying continues and some pro players will qualify off their world golf ranking in early June.

 

It will be Herr's first Open, as the Council Rock North student missed in two prior qualifying events.

 

In Men's U.S. Open Qualifying, Warrington native Joey Bonargo advanced to sectionals as did Langhorne's Steve Arnold. Tom Timby of Doylestown came up short of advancing.

Viewer drops dime, Inkster DQed

Written by Bob Oliver on .

I called into Major League Baseball offices and let them know a ball called in yesterday's game was really a strike.

 

To my surprise, MLB didn't change the call.

 

Interestingly enough, a wrong call was made on a holding call in the Eagles game over the weekend. I e-mailed the National Football League offices and let them know, but they too didn't change the call.

Nicklaus turns 70, grabs fishing rod

Written by Bob Oliver on .

Jack Nicklaus turns 70 years of age this week, and it seems like only yesterday that the Golden Bear was dethroning Arnold Palmer as the King of Golf.

 

Oh, Palmer will always be The King, but Nicklaus will be known as the Greatest Golfer of his time and possibly of all ages.

 

Nicklaus will spend January 21, his 70th Birthday, with his favorite pastime, fishing. Go figure.