(This column was written
By Shelly Saltman
I am not a golfer! Tried it once and in frustration thanked my host and returned the loaned set of left-handed clubs. However, I love watching the best in the game and have been intimately involved.
Among the events I created, produced, or ran over the past 50 years was one of the most important stops at the time on the pro-tour ... The Andy Williams San Diego Open. It was so-called from 1968 until 1989 it then became the Buick Invitational until last year when it became the Farmer's Insurance Open.
In 1968, personalities who loaned their names in order to raise money for good causes were among the reasons that a struggling PGA in the '60s and '70s was kept alive. Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Andy, Glen Campbell and Joe Garagiola to mention a few. They not only lent their name, but they exerted great effort to bring in the top golfers to insure success.
Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Doug Sanders were among those who played all the events. The celebrities also played in each other's tournaments to help lure large galleries. The marriage between spots and entertainment celebrities is one made in golfing heaven.
I wonder who we'll see as we wander the
So, although I do not play golf, I can appreciate what goes into running a major event. One such event is the Chevron World Challenge, which takes place at Lake Sherwood Country Club, and is formerly known as the Tiger Woods Invitational.
In fact, Tiger has won this event four times and although he has had a bad year, (for him);
The past two years he has been absent from the Tournament because of injuries ... first, a knee operation and then, an automobile accident. Pundits for lack of something else to say, called it "The Tiger-less Woods" Tournament". Fortunately, his absence took nothing away from Jim Furyk's wonderful round of winning golf last year
What triggered my writing of this article is an ad I saw in the media asking for volunteers to help run the tournament. I can attest it is a massive undertaking and cannot survive without large manpower. In 1968 for the San Diego Tournament, Dennis Waitley and I needed thousands of volunteers. It was a logistic nightmare.
The AWSDO was an Official PGA Tour stop unlike the Chevron, which is unofficial. Unofficial or not there are many similarities in the required tasks. Wardens, messengers, press aides, scorekeepers, host drivers, clubhouse support and many more bodies are necessary.
In 1968, our total prize money was $356,000 and was at the time the largest purse on the tour. The Chevron event, an invitational featuring 18 of the top golfers in the world, has a total prize package of more than $5 million and is not the largest purse of the year. In fact, the golfer who finishes last will still get $170,000.
The AWSDO was for the benefit of the Salk Institute and Dr. Jonas Salk. How proud I was that first year when I presented Dr. Salk with a check for $350,000. This year, the Tiger Woods Educational Foundation will receive a check that will dwarf what Dr. Salk received by many thousands.
Many of us will go out to the Tournament and have a wonderful time. We shall get what we expect. We will eat tons of hot dogs, enjoy the hamburgers and the vista of one of the world's most beautiful country clubs.
In order to help us enjoy this exceptional week will be the minions of the PGA and everyone else under the
The work, although a professional event, brings into play a massive number of amateur helpers (volunteers) who take pride in a job well done. The combined police forces of the California Highway Patrol, the Ventura County Sherriff's Office and the
The backbone, without a doubt, of a successful event are the
See you at Sherwood!