The prep golf season officially opens Monday, kicking off the new Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association calendar on a new school year.
Even with the unusually high number of Blount County golfers who signed last year to continue golfing in college this fall, there is still quite a bit of swing left for the local teams, as Heritage junior Brandon Nichols demonstrated by taking the Open Division of the Blount Amateur earlier this month.
William Blount gets the first match of the year, playing against Powell and Halls at Beaverbrook, but Heritage and Alcoa join in Tuesday with a match involving Tellico and Bearden at Lambert Acres. Maryville gets started Wednesday at Gettysvue with Knox Catholic before everyone gets in a match on Thursday.
The Scott StallingsChampionships, a junior association event, also tees off on Tuesday at Oak Ridge Country Club. Maryville’s Steven Bagwell is listed in the prestigious field as well as Alcoa’s Caden McLaughlin and former Tornado Matthew Giles, who will be starting classes at Tennessee Tech next month.
GIVE IT UP FOR: The Charity Tour is nearly complete on its busy summer schedule before winding down in the fall. Tom Hatcher’s tourney put on a demonstration in how to truly build one of these fundraising tournaments into a powerhouse event. It maxed out Lambert Acres on Friday to handle a morning round of 22 teams and that afternoon round with 27 teams was about as many players on the course at one time as any golf event should have before it starts to resemble a golf cart traffic jam at rush hour in Los Angeles.
The Wade Houston Classic played Saturday and the first Daily Times Open tournament for charity is on tap next month.
These local fundraising events are always welcome to take advantage of the free listings in Sunday’s Sports Look by emailing the information to firstname.lastname@example.org — the more lead time provided the more times it is likely to run.
TO ALLENBY OR NOT TO BE: Even those who see golf as a traumatic waste of time spent chasing a white ball around acreage that would be a perfect space for a cemetery have noticed there’s something odd about Robert Allenby.
The PGA Tour player gained notoriety back in January with the bizarre kidnapping story during the Sony Open that quickly unravelled into lots of speculation on what truly happened that evening. After splitting with three caddies in his short pro career, the Aussie split with his fourth, Mick Middlemo, during the first round of the Canadian Open on Thursday.
The pair had a spat on club selection on the fourth hole of the day, No. 13.
According to Golf.com, Allenby said he wanted a 7-iron, but the discussion focused on the 8-iron for the shot, which was about 150 yards out. Allenby’s shot fell short, went into a creek and he tripled the hole.
By the time they reached the 18th, Middlemo dropped the bag, headed for the clubhouse and didn’t return. Allenby told the media his caddie got confrontational and he fired him. Middlemo said he quit after receiving a verbal tantrum.
“The discussion was only about waiting for the wind to die down and hit the 8-iron; the 7-iron was never discussed. Not once,” Middlemo told ESPN.com saying Appleby became verbally abusive — something sources have confirmed to multiple outlets. “I just wished it had never gone this far. But he is again using the media to make himself look like the victim.”
Tom Fraser, a 61-year-old local principal at an adult school for prison inmates in the gallery, volunteered to carry the bag the last nine holes. Allenby birded the first hole with Fraser on the bag but later had four straight bogeys.
Simon Clarke, who was caddying for S.J. Park, spoke out Friday to verify Middlemo’s claims after Allenby withdrew prior to the second round.
“I’ve known Rob for a long time and I’ve known Mick for a long time,” Clarke told Golf.com. “It’s disappointing that at age 42, or however old he (Allenby) is, he’s still treating people that way and how many good caddies he’s gone through.
“It’s sad that he speaks to the guys this way and doesn’t wait until after the round. It’s disappointing that he’s up to his old tricks.”
It will hopefully be just as disappointing for Allenby when tries to find someone willing to be his fifth caddie.