The Norman Transcript


June 16, 2013

Publinx is chance to witness history



Don’t you love it when golf becomes too smart for itself? Like the USGA was sitting around and thinking, how can we become more relevant, and decided why not put on a national championship as gimmicky as something so many state golf associations, or singular courses put on. 

It almost makes you wonder if the USGA had a U.S. Amateur Member-Guest on the table, or U.S. Amateur Skins Game, or a national championship in which you’re only allowed one club.

It’s a little bit tragic.

No longer will there be national amateur championships for players who did not grow up with the advantage of club privileges. The whole idea behind the Publinx model was to make a statement about the game belonging to everybody, not merely the deep-pocketed class. The USGA may simply not understand that the Public Links concept is very meaningful to many golfers.

Oh, well.

Perhaps the writing was on the wall back in 2009 when the men’s event came to Norman, when the Public Links was played at the course once called “University” but that had since renamed itself a “Club.”

Everybody wants to be exclusive. Everybody but Westwood Park, and maybe that’s why the place fills up every Fourth of July Weekend.

It’s a thought.

At least there’s this year and next.

The OU course has been a fantastic track forever. Perry Maxwell designed it. Years later it was built. 

Though hardly ever too green for most of its life, the result of a lack of irrigation until 1996, the course remained a classic. Then, with Bob Cupp’s redesign 17 years ago, it became a whole lot greener and, one must begrudgingly admit, an even better course.

If the plan was to get great tournaments to come to it, it’s happened in the form of NCAA regionals and national public-course championships. It’s too bad it costs a comparative fortune to play against what it cost in the old days and that it calls itself a club, but it’s still a wonderful 18 holes.

The price of progress.

Beginning Monday, it will be a showcase. A showcase that, after one more run next summer in Washington state, will die.

So come out and watch a great tournament on a great course, an event that deserves to live on forever and ever, even though the USGA disagrees.

Clay Horning

Follow me @clayhorning

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