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Teeing Off

Posted online

by Bryan J. Smith

Charities benefit if you

go out and enjoy the best thing to hit Springfield since cashew chicken

I have something to confess.

I have covered the Nike Ozarks Open for the Business Journal for two years, have been a golf fan for about six years, and have lived in Springfield all my life.

Yet, in eight years of the Nike Ozarks Open, I have only been on hand to see the tournament once.

I'll never forget that tournament. My friend and I went out in 1993 and saw Tommy Tolles nearly sink a hole-in-one on the 15th hole at Highland Springs. Though it rolled just passed the cup, he continued to roll past the competition, taking the tournament by two strokes.

I also bought a hat to throw my support behind this fine tournament.

After leaving the Highland Springs course, I told myself that I wanted to come back to this tournament as often as I could.

I haven't been back since.

And as I think about it, I regret it. This tournament is the best thing to hit Springfield since the Big Bertha.

But looking back at the past few years, I don't know why I have never gone back. Perhaps it's just that I'm too darn lazy.

Well, as a public service to the folks at the Nike Ozarks Open offices, I would like to try to convince you, the reader, to go visit this tournament.

I might even be able to convince myself.

First of all, to eliminate all concern in your minds, the cost of seeing the tournament is not that much. A ticket to take in the sights for a day is only $10.

All you have to do is go to your nearest Consumers, throw down a picture of Alexander Hamilton, and the nice person there will hand you your very own ticket.

It's that easy.

Or, if you really love the tournament, get yourself a season badge for $40, and go every day of the week.

Of course, they have other packages, in case you want your seat in the sky box or in the clubhouse.

If you go to the tournament, you will also see some excellent golfers, the future of the PGA.

No, Tiger Woods will not be there.

But Casey Martin will. Martin made a name for himself by suing the PGA and winning the right to use a golf cart in PGA and Nike Tour events.

But beyond all that, he really is a great golfer.

You might also see some guys out there who could be the next David Duval, Ernie Els or John Daly (all Nike Tour grads).

For me, a great motivation is to go out, watch how the guys swing the club and apply it to my own game.

I certainly need all the help I can get.

Go out and take in the sights at Highland Springs Country Club. If you have never been out there, it is a truly beautiful course and a beautiful area.

I have had the personal honor of playing the course, and I can vouch that it is a great course to look at, as well as play.

Need another reason to go out to the tournament?

This summer has been one of the hottest we've had here in the Ozarks. But when the Nike Ozarks Open comes around, folks can always count on one thing: rain.

If you're tired of getting overheated from mowing your yard or planting flowers, take a day off and watch some golf action.

You're almost sure to leave wet (bring a towel).

But in my personal opinion, the greatest reason to go out and watch the tournament is the benefiting charities.

I like kids, and I really like organizations that help kids. All of the charities involved, in some form or another, deal with kids.

I also like seeing kids happy, and the funds that this tournament raises helps the charities do things that will make kids happy for a really long time.

The Nike Ozarks Open has raised more than $850,000 for its charities in the eight years it has run in Springfield.

After this year, the total is expected to go up to a cool million.

That's a lot of dinero for a great cause.

If you go out to the tournament this weekend, you can rest assured that the money you spend will go to four great causes.

And if that's not worth bearing the heat (or rain) and watching some great golf, I don't know what is.

You don't have to be a golf fan to enjoy the Nike Ozarks Open. You don't even have to know what's going on.

If you can comprehend "Stay behind the ropes" and "Quiet, please," you're good to go.

I myself am going to make my best attempt to get out to the tournament this week, and I hope that you do too.

It's sure to be the best tournament on the Nike Tour this year, perhaps even a "Legend in the Making."

That is, if it doesn't rain. Then again, maybe even if it does.

INSET CAPTION:

The money

spectators spend at the tournament this weekend will go to four great causes: Ronald McDonald House, Boys & Girls Club, Special Olympics and

A Sporting Chance.[[In-content Ad]]

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