Aiming high, starting strong

Junior golf tourney's inaugural year promises a bright future

Some sportsmen shoot doves. Others shoot deer or turkey. The super-ambitious shoot for the moon.


That's these guys.

Paul Simon, Weldon Wyatt and others set out to create the best junior golf tournament in the world.

They can check that off their to-do list.

Toward the end of last week's Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club near Graniteville, Simon asked the 54 teen golfers from around the world what could be done to improve the inaugural event.

"Nothing," a South African golfer quickly summed up.

The young golfers' parents were less verbose. They just laughed at the notion that the tournament could be improved.

"It made you feel pretty good," Simon said in his trademark understatement.

It cannot be overstated what Simon, Wyatt, nearly 200 volunteers and major sponsors such as Electrolux have accomplished: Out of nowhere, in just a couple years of planning, they indeed managed to stage what is quickly going to be known as the best junior golf tournament on the planet.

The golf wasn't too bad, either. Several players tied the esteemed course's record.

CBS will televise an hourlong special on the event May 22. But golf broadcasters around the television dial may be kicking themselves for not televising this tournament from tee to green. It is essentially the junior golf world's equivalent of the Masters Tournament.

There's always next year.

"I'm going to bring 'em in if I can," Simon said.

It says something that PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem -- who's got his hands full with the adult tour -- attended the Sage Valley tournament, and even slipped the gold jacket on winner Nicholas Reach of Pennsylvania on Friday.

It's clear Simon, Wyatt and the rest didn't overreach.

One moon. Check.



Sun, 01/21/2018 - 20:15

The shadow of a missile