Joe Soraghan: Snead and the LPGA

"There is no king of golf. Never has been, never will be. Golf is the most democratic game on Earth ... It punishes and exalts us all with splendid equal opportunity." — Arnold Palmer, professional golfer

This past weekend, golfers were treated to some great golf thrills when the U.S. Open was played at Erin Hills, Wis. Prognosticators were predicting that the "bombers" had a distinct advantage over the short hitters. Brooks Koepka proved them right, though many of the favorites were not around after Friday despite their long-hitting ability. Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy (my pick to win) and Jason Day were just a few of the favorites who did not make the cut.

After the tournament, golf's "talking heads" kept pointing out that everyone enjoys watching drives that hit distances well over the 300-yard mark. The new breed of young guns (post-Tiger) have set a standard and continue to impress with power and distance. Will this cause the finesse part of the game, the chipping and putting, to suffer as golfers try to increase the distance they can flight a golf ball?

In 2003, LPGA golfer Annika Sorenstam was invited to play the Colonial Tournament in Texas. In 1938, Babe Zaharias played in the Los Angeles Open.

Both of these were tournaments for the male professional golfer. What the two LPGA members had in common was that both were extremely long off the tee. The question that was raised during the height of their success was, "Could a woman compete against the men?"

Neither female player brought home the trophy. It was simply the physical strength of the men that could not be denied.

In 1961 and 1962, the Royal Poinciana Plaza Invitational took place, which included both men and women without separate tees. For the two years it was played, the winners would both become members of the Golf Hall of Fame.

The Royal Poinciana event was held in the Palm Beach area of Florida. This was a 72-hole event played over two days. In 1961, 15 men were entered, some pros and the rest amateurs. About 40 professional women golfers were to complete the field.

Two headliners that brought credibility to the event were Louise Suggs and Sam Snead. The equalizer for the field was the course. It was par-3 layout. In 1961, it was Suggs who won the event over the strong field. Because men and women were competing at a course where both would need to display great skills of putting and chipping, strength and power were not required for success. In 1962, it was Snead who took the $1,500 first prize. Snead, who won more PGA tournaments than anyone, was the only male player in 1962. The LPGA recognized his win, not the PGA.

Golf seems to be going the way of all sports. In baseball, fans want to see home runs. In football, the team that doesn't have a wide open offense will find itself labeled as boring or plodding. Fans seem to be attracted to power and strength. I'm hoping some of the future U.S. Open venues like Shinnecock and Pebble Beach will allow the player that has the entire game of golf in his arsenal to succeed.

Club Notes:

North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: "Rain, rain go away, so the Monday Night Ledgeview League can go out and play." Bad weather, however, did not impact the Thursday Night League. Heading the field were The Mulliganz who played the scramble to take first place. There was a two-way tie for second between the Sub-Par and Leprechaun teams. Closest to the pin honors went to Tom Scanlon and Gay Folland. A Demo Day is set for Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., representatives from Callaway will be available for players to test their latest equipment. On Sunday from noon-4 p.m., it will be representatives from Mizuno. Launch monitors will be used to help you decide what club is right for you. Today, June 23, is the Men's One Day Member/Guest. Monday, it will be the Ladies One Day Member/Guest. There will be a Mixed Scramble Social on Sunday, June 25, beginning at 3:30 p.m. The NCCC Junior Program will start July 6. This will is open to juniors from the age 6-16. The cost is $50 for the five-week program and will culminate with a tournament and cookout. Call the pro shop for more information.

Indian Mound Golf Course, Center Ossipee, (603) 539-7733: Nine and Dine this week featured a two-person scramble. Taking first place was the team of Sue Cayer and Charlie Hadlock. Second place went to Joan Loonan and Ken Jones. In Rivers Edge Quotaaction, Ian Anderson posted a +7 to take the top spot. Closest to the pin winners were Mark Graffam and Norm Roy. The Annual Alzheimer's Tournament will be played Saturday, June 24. This is an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. Clinics began this Tuesday and will be held from 10-11 a.m. The three-week Junior Golf program will begin July 12. Interclub matches start July 17 at Lake Kezar CC. Call the pro shop for info regarding any of the scheduled tournaments and events.

Wentworth Golf Club, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: The 29th Annual MWV Ski Tournament was held last Friday. In the Men's Division, it was the team of Greg Alain, Chris Kroski, and Noah and Parker Coleman, who took first. First place for the ladies went to Ellen Elliot, Nancy Lightbrown, Liz Griffin and Val Tratner. The Mixed Team winners were Ken Corrick, Julian Deniaud, Bob Tafuto and Phil Landers. Closest to the pin were Stephen Engel and Mackie Feeney on No. 17. Long drive winners were Valerie Tratner and Jeffery Pan. The Tuesday Ladies League played a scramble format June 13. First-place team was Cricket Catalucci, Fran Baker, Jenny Simone and Barbara Theriault. Tuesday, June 20, saw the ladies play a putt-only event where only the number of putts were counted. Taking first was Cricket Catalucci and Maryann Lowry with 28 putts. Deb Chase and Maureen Fitzgerald took second with 30 putts. On Sunday, June 25, the Spring 4-Ball will take place. Results will be posted at Madeline's. A welcome-back reception for members and their guests will take place Saturday at 4 p.m.

Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: Week 6 of Don Ho finds a tie at the top. The Beava Pelts and Sea Dogs are both at -32. Third place finds the Chip Shots at -28 and the Divot Kings at -27. Mike Peloquin got closest to the pin while Maura Sutton, Melinda Fallen, Seth Stone and Rick Boyle won long drives. The Eagle hosted the Jack Butler Memorial Tournament on Sunday. Taking first place was the team of Rick Pillion, Lucien Morin, Eric Pendleton, John Allen, Mitchell and Glen Harmon. Individually, it was Melissa Linne and Jeff Roden getting closest to the pin. Long drive winners were Evie Butler and Josh Rivers. The Tuesday Mixed League saw the team of Terry Fitzgerald, Roger Blake and Mary Waldron take first. Closest to the pin went to Connie Blake. The Thursday Eagle League saw Dennis Soraghan, Joan and Roger Aubrey take the top spot, while Roger Blake got closest to the pin. PGA Pro Bob McGraw will have a short swing clinic Saturday from 10-11 a.m. Bob will cover the fundamentals for successful chipping, pitching and hitting bunker shots. The fee is $20, and the class is limited to six students.

Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: Week 2 of the Women's League saw Suzanne McCarthy post a +10 in the weekly quota game. Closest to the pin went to Dottie Heffernan, who fired a shot within 8 feet of the pin on No. 3. Week 4 of Men's League saw Ray Luchetti post a +8 in the quota game. Bill Earle got closest to the pin on No. 6. Hale's Golf and the White Mountain Hotel continue to offer Nine, Wine, and Dine every Sunday. For $55 per person, you get nine holes of golf with a cart as well as a complete dinner and a glass of wine. Call the hotel to make reservations (603-356-7100) and the Pro Shop (603-356-2140) for a tee time. "There's always time for 9."

Lake Kezar Country Club, Route 5, Lovell, Maine, (207) 925-2462: The Golfing for Jimmy Tournament was held last Saturday. Ninety-eight players came out to support their friend and co-worker and had a great time on the Links. Photos of the tournament can be found on the LKC website. The Tuesday Morning League saw the team of Corey Douglas, Dana Morrill, Dave Mills and John McInery take the top spot. Second place went to the team of George Bassett, Peter Malia and Pat Johnston. The Tuesday Twilight League standings have team Lord leading the pack with 310 points. Following are team Alimi, 287; team Littlefield, 274; team Trumbull, 262; team Osgood, 236; and team Shorey, 193 points.

19th Hole: Laddie Lucas was a member of the Prince's Golf Course on the southwest coast of England. Lucas, an RAF pilot during World War II, was returning to his English base when his plane was hit by enemy fire and he was forced to ditch his plane. He decided to try and land the crippled aircraft on his home course but came up about a mile short. After his rescue, he said, "I could never hit the first fairway with a driver. I don't know why I thought I could hit it with an airplane." Enjoy your weekend golf.

Joe Soraghan may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In the Press Box... Hats off to Bernie and our community

By Lloyd Jones

CONWAY — Haven't we come a long way?

Eleven years ago, no one would come to Kennett High School for a track meet. The Eagles, one of the last schools in the state with an all grass track were essentially nomads. They went their final 14 years on the old Kennett High campus without a home meet. Athletes never got an opportunity to compete at home in front of friends, family and community members.

Saturday might well have been the crowing moment in the nearly 60-year history of the Kennett High track program. KHS hosted the Division II Track and Field Championships, and boy, didn't the Eagles do it up right. It was a banner day for the sport, and it showed just how far the Kennett High track program has come.

"It was the Kennett track teams finest hour in total," said Bernie Livingston, who has been at the helm of the KHS program for the past 37 years. "I couldn't have asked for anything more. I really couldn't. It was a perfect day. It's the best meet we've ever put on."

Teams from across the state flocked to Gary Millen Stadium, where they were greeted by a host of upbeat, extremely helpful core of yellow shirted volunteers. Ellen Caputo and Peter Kondrat were phenomenal in getting people to help out.

"I'd be lost without them," Livingston said of the two, who worked tirelessly from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday. "They never cease to amaze me. It was just an incredible team effort."

The White Mountain Milers came out in full force. They all had an extra pep in their step and smiles to along. There was a genuine sense of achievement in our community hosting the State Meet.

Kennett Athletic Director Neal Weaver did a great job of dealing with the officials, making sure everyone had a W-2 form in order to be compensated for their efforts. He's heard praises from numerous coaches on what great hosts the Eagles were.

"With the Division I State Meet on Friday night and the Division III down in Winnisquam on Saturday, some of our volunteers stepped into a lot of sub official roles," Livingston said. "Everyone did what needed to be done. I can't say enough about the job Andy Bechtold did with the field, it's never looked better."

While Livingston said the meet was the highlight of the day, for others it was seeing Livingston himself recognized by fellow Granite State track coaches. He was honored with the Peter Lovejoy Coach of the Year by the New Hampshire Track and Field Coaches Association. In one of the best kept secrets, the Livingston children — Sean, Cathy, Terry, Tim and Kelly — made sure their parents (Eileen and Bernie) were kept unaware of what was to unfold on Saturday afternoon.

"I had no idea," Eileen said. "I was standing in the back jibber-jabbing with Marianne Jackson when all of a sudden I looked up and Terry was talking."

"I knew something was up as soon as Terry started speaking," Livingston said. "It was very surprising and very humbling."

Livingston said he tries to be the same coach he was when he first started and has maintained a mantra of treating everyone equally.

"I just do what I can do," he said. "I try to be the best coach I can be. I think I'm the same person I was when I started. To quote that great American philosopher, Popeye the Sailor Man, 'I yam what's I yam, And that's all what's I am.'"

Livingston said he took a moment to take in the day at about 8:45 p.m. when he went and sat in the bleachers looking out over Livingston Oval.

"It was a great day," he said. "It was great for the kids to be able to compete at home. It was great for our community to be able to showcase this area and our school. It was well worth the effort."

Livingston hopes the Eagles will host the championships again next year. Traditionally, teams host the State Meet two years in a row.

"Then the year after that," he said, "I'd like to see if we can host the State Meet (Meet of Champions). That would be our crowning achievement for our program."

It may be tough to top Saturday's meet. Hats off to everyone for a job so well done.

Joe Soraghan: He who has not sinned ...

"Golf's ultimate moral instruction directs us to find within ourselves a pivotal center of enjoyment. Relax into a rhythm and play the shot at hand, not the last one, not the next one, but the one at your feet. In the poison ivy where you put it." — John Updike, author and golfer

When LPGA Pro Lexi Thompson was called out for incorrectly marking her ball on the green, she was penalized four strokes in the first major of the season. Two strokes were for placing her ball in a spot that was not its "original" spot. After her round, two more strokes were assigned as penalties for signing an incorrect scorecard. The USGA acted quickly to the firestorm by banning tournament viewers from reporting rules violations, which is how Thompson's violations were discovered. Jack Nicklaus responded as follows: "Once a scorecard has been reviewed and signed, penalties should not be added the day after the rounds have been played."

Every golfer is responsible for following the rules. This is the backbone on which golf is built. So why is it that most golfers are guilty of "bending" the rules when they are playing? Is it cheating? Have you ever taken or been given a "mulligan" or a "breakfast ball"? When you discover you have hit a ball out of bounds, do you drop a ball near the area where your ball disappeared? Have you taken or been given a "gimme putt" and pick up the ball before you hole out? 'm willing to bet that every one of us has been guilty of some rule violation.

During our weekend games, two players have what I consider the right way to play the game. One refuses to touch the ball, even if "preferred lies" are allowed. The other  will not give a putt if there is a value to the putt. This means if you are playing a quota or have a match where a stroke is involved via the handicap system, then you putt out the hole. Arnold Palmer once said, "Take advantage of all the rules, the game is tough enough." One of golf's attractions is the rules are designed for pro and amateur golfer alike. If you follow the rules.

Phil Mickelson responded to Thompson's penalty by saying, "There are guys on the pro tour who are very loose with the way they mark their ball." Isn't it the responsibility of a player to call a fellow competitor on a rules violation? A recent article by a pro who wanted to remain nameless even accused a fellow pro of outright cheating, saying the player "continues to anchor his putter and conceals this by wearing loose clothing. He marks his ball incorrectly."

Recently, course play was suspended due to a rain delay. When the player marked his ball on the fairway so he would know where to resume, his ball was in a divot. Upon returning to the course, the ball was outside the divot. In a Golf Magazine survey, 50 caddies were asked if they ever witnessed a player cheat, and 54 percent replied in the affirmative, the most common transgression being when a ball was in a deep rough lie. Some players would pat the grass down behind the ball with one club, then hit the ball with a different club.

Golf is a tough game. The breaks and bounces work for and against you. If players do not play by the rules, whether knowingly or unknowingly, they have created a distinct advantage over one who abides by the rules. Know the rules, play by them, and you won't have a problem.

Club Notes:

North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: The Member/Member was played Sunday. For the men, Al and Tyler Worcester took first gross. First net winners were Kevin Howard and Neal Chase. On the women's side, Gay Folland and Pat Henry took first gross. First net went to Jackie Gaudes and Donna O'Connor. A "Blind 9" was played Saturday. Tied for first was Tyler Palmer and Bruce Sanderson. Monday's Ledgeview League finally saw the teams return to the links. The Golf Team took the top spot, followed by the Divot Divas and Trophy Husbands, who tied for second. Kevin McDonald and Laura Cronin got closest to the pin honors. The Thursday Ledgeview League saw The Designated Drivers take top spot. Second went to The Putt Pirates and third to The Gophers. Closest to the pin winners were Peter Fresco and Sandi Poor. The Men's One Day Member-Guest will be held June 23. The Ladies' One-Day is scheduled for June 26. The women will be supporting the charity "End 68 Hours of Hunger." Players are encouraged to donate a non-perishable item that will fit into a backpack. Next weekend, the 24th and 25th, there will be two Demo Days. Representatives from Mizuno and Callaway will be at the practice area with the latest equipment to help you with your game.

Indian Mound Golf Course, Center Ossipee, (603) 539-7733: The Rivers' Edge Quota League, saw Trish Picard post a +7. Closest to the pin honors went to Michele Curley and Fuzzy Martin. Nine and Dine had a Hawaiian Nite theme. Winning team members were Anne Ring, Linda Jones, Tom Loonan, and Dave Remick. In Men's League action it was the team of Art Johanson, Dave Eaton, Chris Goumas, and Joe Strohman who were a +19.5. Golf clinics will begin on June 20. The cost is $12 per player and will run from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Junior Golf will start on Wednesday July 12. The cost is $38 per player and run for three weeks. Call the pro shop for more information. Finally, congratulations to Bert Kelly who at the age of 85, shot an 83. I'll take him as a partner any time!

Wentworth Golf Club, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: Week 2 of Red Fox League saw the Over Par team take top spot. Second went to Flyers in 7 and third place, to the Ball Busters. Closest to the pin winners were Chris Saunders and Mary Ann Fitzgerald. Long putt winners were Bob DiPace and Robin Garsides. The Turtles and Bunnies got together for an afternoon of golf and an evening of fun. There was a tie for first place. Members of the two teams were Chad Callanan, Dick and Elaine DeFronzo, John and Mary Ellen Gallo for Team 1. Team 2 members were Jack Rowe, Anne and Steve Frost, and Paul and Joan Palubniak. Local servers and bartenders can play every third Wednesday for $20. The MWV Ski Tournament is being held today.

Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: Week 5 of Don Ho action, finds The Beava Pelts in first place at -26. Second place belongs to The Chip Shots at -25 and the Divot Kings are in third at -22. Seth Reidy won closest to the pin honors. Long Drive winners were Mary Hansel, Dan Luchetti, and Kevin Young. The Thursday Eagle League saw the team of Rita Stoessel, Haig Zeytonian, and Marie and Jack Lee take the top spot. Closest to the pin honors went to Ann Lee Doig. PGA Pro, Bob McGraw, will be offering a Full Swing clinic this Saturday from 11 a.m. until noon. The fundamentals of swinging the Driver and Fairway woods will be covered. The class is limited to six students and the cost is $20. The month of June is Women's Golf Month at the Eagle. A discounted greens fee for Ladies is being offered and a free clinic for women will be held this Sunday at 1. If equipment is needed it will be provided. Call the pro shop for more information.

Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: After some rainouts and delays the Men's and Women's Leagues played in some great conditions. Donna Perry took early season honors by posting a +6, got closest to the pin on #3, and proceeded to sink her putt. The men had to play twice to make up for the weather cancellations. In week 2, John Callahan and Gerry Gagnon took first with a +4 and Wendall Lincoln got closest to the pin. Week 3 saw Callahan post a +8 with Luchetti getting closest to the pin honors. The Nine, Wine, and Dine continues each Sunday. For $55 per person, you get nine holes of golf with a cart as well as a full dinner and a glass of wine. Call (603) 356-7100 to reserve and the Pro Shop for a tee time.

Lake Kezar Country Club, Route 5, Lovell, Maine, (207) 925-2462: On Saturday Lake Kezar CC, will be hosting the "Golfing for Jimmy Tournament." Jim Hadlock is a well-known figure in the golfing community and the response throughout New England has been heartwarming. If you are unable to play, donations can be sent to LKCC in Jimmy's name. Congratulations to Brad Littlefield for his hole-in-one on the par 3, 12th hole. Brad's shot was a slam dunk: no roll, no bounce, no carom, nothing but cup!

19th Hole: The Erin Hills course, where the U.S. Open will be played this weekend, should provide for some interesting golf. The course is described as an "American Links Course." With the USGA overseeing the setup, you can be sure the rough will be high, the course long, greens fast, and pin placements most challenging. Enjoy the golf and a Happy Father's Day to all the dads.

Joe Soraghan may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In the Press Box... Let's go Red Sox!

By Lloyd Jones

While we're putting our shovels and snowblowers through an extra month of use, the boys of summer have returned. Spring training is over, baseball is back and these games all count.

"There are only two seasons — winter and baseball." — Bill Veeck.

With the opening crack of the bat, that means it's time for some fearless predictions.

Starting with the local nine, Boston will win the AL East.

Sure, the Sox are going to miss David Ortiz in the middle of the lineup, but this team is going to score runs in bunches. Plus, the pitching will be better with the addition of Chris Sale. Sale is going to be must watch like those days when Pedro took to the hill. He has a confident swagger about him on the mound and seems a sure-bet to win 20 games this season.

If David Price can return in mid-May and be David Price, the Sox can run away with the division. Boston also will get a helping hand, probably in June, by the return of sensational reliever Carson Smith. Pair him with Tyler Thornburg and that's two strong arms in front of closer Craig Kimbrel. The bullpen can be a difference-maker for the first time in a long time.

With Ortiz not walking through the dugout anytime soon, the Sox are still one of the best offenses in the game. The outfield of Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley and Rookie of the Year frontrunner Andrew Benintendi are going to be fun to watch. Also, look for Hanley Ramirez to have another monster year as he moves into more of a leadership role. Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland will hit, too.

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." — Rogers Hornsby.

The Toronto Blue Jays will be the team chasing Boston in the standings. The Jays have strong pitching staff. Aaron Sanchez should take another step towards elite starters this summer.

The New York Yankees have a batch of veterans and young guns, but no real standout players in their prime. The youngsters (Greg Bird, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez) need to play a little above their heads to contend.

Tampa Bay and Baltimore are either hitting thin or pitching thin. Can't see either breaking the 80 win total.

"Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal." — George Will.

In the AL Central, if Cleveland doesn't win the division, things will have gone horribly array in the mistake by the lake. The Tribe are a popular choice to head back to the World Series. They've added a bopper to their lineup in Edwin Encarnacion, and figure to have a healthy return in Michael Brantley, who missed pretty-much all of last season after finishing third in the MVP voting in 2015. Throw in healthy starters Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, plus the best manger in baseball in Terry Franconia, and what's not to like?

Detroit needs its veterans to stay healthy in order to stay within sniffing distance of the playoffs.

Kansas City isn't getting a lot of love, and the Royals just might surprise some people.

The Twins and White Sox have some young talent, but are a few years away from making any noise in the division.

"There ain't much to being a ballplayer, if you're a ballplayer." — Honus Wagner

The AL West should be fun to follow this summer. The Astros, Rangers and Mariners all look like potential playoff teams. Seattle is the pick here. The offseason additions of Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger in the Tajuan Walker trade gives them the nod. Just a hunch, but King Felix (Hernandez) will be be very good again, and James Paxton stays healthy to give the Mariners a strong one-two punch.

The Astros are going to score runs and look like a playoff team. Same is true for the Rangers.

The Angels and Athletics have way too many holes to fill before contending.

"Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets." — Yogi Berra.

In the NL East, the Mets could have the best rotation in baseball. If Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler live up to there pre-injury hype, New York is going to be tough to beat, but the Nationals are gong to beat them. Bryce Harper wins the MVP and Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer go one-two in the Cy Young voting.

The Miami Marlins drawing rooting interest in these parts because of Jeff Locke. Jeff is rehabbing from bicep tendinitis. Bold pick, Jeff leads the Marlins in wins this season even starting a few weeks behind the rest of the fish.

Braves and Phillies are better than last year's records, but the division is too tough for them to make any noise.

"Bob Gibson is the luckiest pitcher I ever saw. He always pitches when the other team doesn't score any runs." — Tim McCarver.

The Chicago Cubs will win the NL Central. The team is loaded with talent and should be better than last year.

St. Louis is a great baseball town, but the loss of phenom Alex Reyes hurts the rotation.

Pirates will threaten for a Wild Card berth while Milwaukee and Cincinnati fans will have to wait until next year.

"I'd walk through hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball." — Pete Rose.

The LA Dodgers are too good for the rest of the NL West. When your team can't win even after your ace, Madison Bumgarner belts two home runs on Opening Day, that tells you something.

Colorado could surprise in this division if it gets any sort of pitching. It will be no surprise that the Diamondbacks and Padres are not in playoff contention.

"Baseball just a came as simple as a ball and bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes. A sport, a business and sometimes almost even a religion." Ernie Harwell.

Red Sox win the AL. Nationals win the NL.

"When you start the game, they don't say 'Work ball!' They say 'Play ball!'" — Willie Stargell.

Boston wins the World Series.