Tomorrow, in Cromwell, CT, is the kickoff of the former Sammy Davis Jr. Greater Hartford Open, Canon Greater Hartford Open and last year the sponsorless Greater Hartford Open. The new name is the Buick Championship. I have to be honest this is my fourth favorite tournament to watch. Right behind the Masters, US Open & British Open is this little tournament at the TPC River Highlands.
You might be thinking to yourself why in the hell would No Three Putts like this tournament so much. Here's why: I grew up in a little town, Portland, CT, right across the river from Cromwell. When I was 16 years old my first job was as a cart attendant at the former TPC of CT, now the TPC River Highlands. I worked as a cart attendant for 3 summers and on the grounds crew for 2 summers at this great golf course. I still thank my lucky stars the day I got the call from Robert Earl Harper, the head pro, telling me I got the job. I don't know what ever happened to Robert, but if there's a pro with this name at a club you play at, please drop me a line, I'd love to catch up with him.
Of course the week of the tournament was always the highlight of the summer. My role as a cart attendant switched to a driving range ball guy. Besides meeting all of the pros I also got to meet Michael Jordan, Sammy Davis Jr. and many other celebrities at the pro-am. One memory I'll never forget was when Peter Jacobsen missed the cut one year, not the fact that he missed the cut, there was a big party on the Friday night of the tournament, Peter had way too many beers, and he got up on the stage with a basketball and told jokes. The guy is hysterical. The two summers I worked on the grounds crew the week of the tournament meant working around 80 hours. The overtime was sweet. I remember double and triple cutting greens before the sun came up.
I tell ya, those were the days. I used to make good money, work on the best golf course in the area and get free golf. I hope my kids have summer jobs that will provide them with the great memories that I have. Here's a few of my former co-workers from the TPC of CT that I had great times with during the summers of '85-'89: Harry B, Bryan M, David B, Tad P, Kyle K, Beth "Pebbles", Pete Stank, Dave "Pez", Wayner, Cara A, Kelly, Geno, Chris "Walrus", Malloy, Scooter and I'm sure there are many I am leaving out, but thanks y'all we had some great summers.
When you see the big lake on 15,16 & 17 this year, think about this: One year the water got extremely low and a pipe was showing, the pipe was right in front of the 17th green. So a volunteer was needed to swim out to the pipe and cut it. Well, No Three Putts was like, I'll do it. As disgusting as the water was to swim in, I successfully completed my mission. For doing this I got a sweet bonus, I was named employee of the week and got a $50 gift certificate to the pro shop. Ah, the little things in life you never forget.