Saucon Valley Country Club, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
June 19 – 26, 2022
Usually, anyone following our Blog will find something food-related. This post is going to buck that tradition. Not only will we skip the subject of food, but Bob is at the keyboard contributing with commentary.
Last Fall I got an email from our cousin in Texas. An avid golfer, he had seen an invitation for volunteers to work the upcoming US Senior Open at Saucon Valley Country Club and immediately reached out to get my reaction. There was no way I would turn down this opportunity. Saucon Valley CC has three courses ranked in the top 25 of the State of Pennsylvania and is literally two miles from where Mary Ann and I reside.
So, a short while later, he and I were accepted into the volunteer workforce.
The first time SVCC hosted the Senior Open was in 1992. That time, being a novice at the game, I attended an early-round with my oldest daughter. She scored an autograph from the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus, after his round (So proud of her!). We also saw Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, and Chi Chi Rodriguez that day. It will always be one of my favorite memories.
In 2000, the Senior Open came back for a second time. While I did not attend the play that year, I do have a very beautiful memento of the event. A friend of mine did security for the tournament and received a printed poster as a token of appreciation for his services. A few years later, not being a devotee of the game, he asked if I would be interested in the poster. I said yes and gladly accepted the print showing Nicklaus, Palmer, Irwin, Kite, and Watson with the SVCC Clubhouse viewed from the 18 the Hole. That print hung in my work office for many years.
So, this year, thirty tears after the first SVCC Senior Open, I went back to see the Seniors again. This time my cousin and I spent four shifts in the Merchandise Tent assisting some of the thousands of visitors to the tournament to gather their own mementos. We worked with 10 to 20 other Volunteers and met Players, Caddies, and fans of all ages, and worked for Interns and Managers from USGA. What a great time we had meeting new friends and greeting the crowd that stopped in the tent.
Once each of our shifts was done, we could then spend time on the course watching the action. On Friday we walked the course looking for as many of the “names” as we could find. Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Vijay Singh, Mark O’Meara, Jay Haas, Rocco Mediate, and Padraig Harrington. And on Saturday, we snagged a spot in the Gallery of the First Tee and watched most of them start their round with drives I could only dream of.
At the end of the day, it looked like Harrington comfortably had the tournament in hand at 11 under and the nearest competitor at 6 under. But Sunday didn’t disappoint. Steve Stricker, Harrington’s opponent Captain at the 2021 Ryder Cup, came from 9 back to challenge the Irishman for the lead. Stricker’s USA team defeated the Europeans in 2021. In the end, Harrington hung on to finish at 10 under with Stricker at 9 under. What an afternoon of golf!
PADRAIG HARRINGTON WINNER 2022 SR. U.S. OPEN
The winner of the event, Padraig Harrington