The return of the Kemper Open, the revival of the long lost D.C. Open, the shift of the Middle Atlantic Open to Northern Virginia, and area championships on picturesque, quality courses highlight this year's gold season.
General Chairman Ben Brundred reports tickets for the May 25-31 Kemper at Congressional moving 25 percent faster than last year, "which in this economy is pretty good. We've sold about 25,000 tickets." He said that 100 amateurs have each paid $1,500 to play with PGA Tour pros in the pro-am before the Kemper.
Congressional's driving range has been revamped. The $100,000 excavation project, which involved the bulldozing of 35,000 cubic yards of earth, flattened the range and will allow increased use of the practice area.
The $400,000 purse, for the event which comes three weeks before the U.S. Open, guarantees another topflight field, expected to include defending champ John Mahaffey. Jack Nicklaus, winner of 19 major golf championships, will not play. Nicklaus' own Memorial Tournament is a week before the Kemper. His son, Steve, graduates from high school in Florida the week of the Kemper.
The men's U.S. Open will be played at Philadelphia's Merion, June 18-21, for the fourth time.
The LPGA tour will not visit Baltimore for the first time in 20 years. Pine Ridge was forced to yield its normal July slot because that date conflicted with the U.S. Women's Open. Suggested August dates were unacceptable to Baltimore sponsors. Thus Beth Daniel and Nancy Lopez-Melton watchers must trek to Malverne, Pa. (near Philadelphia), June 4-7; for the McDonald Classic, or to Hershey, Pa., June 19-21, for the Lady Keystone.
The showcase for the Middle Atlanta PGA, the $20,000 section championship, will be a scenic Shannon Green in Fredericksburg, Va., Sept. 28-30.
Tough Evergreen Country Club, in Haymarket, Va., and Prince William golf course, near Manassas, will host the huge field for the Middle Atlantic Open Aug. 24-26, which for the last 11 years was held at Hobbit's Glen and Allview in Columbia.
Heavenly Woodmont will be the site of the Middle Atlantic Golf Association Championship, Oct. 1-4, and the Maryland Amateur, June 13-15. aThe District Amateur will be held at Washington, July 16-19.
Bell Haven, sporting a new all-brick clubhouse, is the site of the Women's District Championship June 22-26, and the Belle Haven Four Ball, May 7-9.
The D.C. Open, after 30 years of hibernation, will be renewed as the Metro Open, a 54-hole stroke-play event at Indian Spring, a brutal test from the back tees. Former Post golf writer Maury Fitzgerald started the tournament when he worked for the old Times-Herald. The trophy, from Tiffany's in New York, is encased at Indian Spring in custody of its last winner 30 years ago, head pro Charlie Bassler.