PGA's Finchem loves area's fervent fans
Tom Lehman takes a divot in the rough of the 11th hole during the Constellation Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel Club.
Share with others:
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said Thursday the message has been received loud and clear from Pittsburgh: They love their golf.
Finchem said he was impressed with the enthusiasm Pittsburgh has provided the Constellation Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel Golf Club.
"The enthusiasm from the fans is here and they've already begun to turn out for the event," he said.
Finchem also discussed the possibility of the Senior Players returning to Fox Chapel in future years, as well as the chances of other tournaments and tours coming to Pittsburgh.
"We recognize that the U.S. Open will be back [at Oakmont Country Club] in a few years, so we will take that into consideration," he said. "We like to do our planning on a long-term basis, so we will look at all the aspects. Certainly in whatever direction we go, being able to come back here and play will be high on our list."
One reason for that is the passion that Pittsburgh has for sports, Finchem said.
"I think ideally in about 10 years you'd like to see a good representation of all three Tours on some basis that fans can relate to. Because you've got the golf courses, you've got the big sports savvy and sports enthusiastic market," he said. "Clearly, we know from this week that the fans want more golf here. So our objective ought to be to upscale how much we are playing here and add a level that really kind of fits the strength of this market."
Allegheny Sports Medicine is seeing its name go national with its sponsorship of the mobile health and fitness trailers that the PGA Tour offers. Both are on hand at the Senior Players Championship to help golfers prevent future injury and treat current injuries.
"It's a special sponsorship," said Craig Cator, a licensed athletic trainer with Allegheny Sports Medicine. "We pride ourselves on training and treating athletes,"
Kent Biggerstaff, the former athletic trainer for the Pirates, helps the golfers in what they call "prehab," or preventing injuries before they happen.
"We cover core strength, balance and flexibility," he said. "For these guys out here, it's overuse. It's not 'Oh, I hurt myself swinging,' it's 'Oh, I hurt myself after my hundredth thousand swing.' "
Golfers have the chance to warm-up before their tee times, which keeps them loosened up when it comes time to play. Treadmills, weights, medicine balls and exercise bikes are in the trailer.
Current injuries are treated in another trailer. Paul Schueren, a physical therapist, treats many of the golfers.
"It's akin to a training room for a professional team," Schueren said. "We can treat acute or chronic injury."
He added that he predominately sees overuse injuries, especially in the senior players.
One golfer who could use these services is Fred Couples, who said his back was bothering him throughout the day Thursday.
"I don't know exactly what's going on, and I'm not getting too much sleep, so I'm just not feeling very well," he said.
Stifling heat wore at the golfers Thursday, and many said having an early tee time turned out to be an advantage.
"I think there's a big advantage. [8 a.m.] versus [noon] is huge," Tom Lehman said. "Tomorrow we are at 10:30 [a.m.] and that's still reasonable. It's a real difference from a [3 p.m.] start when the greens are baking in the afternoon and just wicked fast. So to play early is a definite advantage."
"We're all going to experience the heat," Greg Norman said. "So it's just a matter of putting up with it and going on with it."
Fans will have to put up with the heat as well, with temperatures expected to hit the 90s today and this weekend. The Senior Players Championship is now allowing spectators to bring their own bottle of water to the event. Spectators will also be able to refill their water bottles from water coolers at the first aid tents (at No. 3 green and No. 16 fairway) and the Expo Village (adjacent to No. 1 fairway).
First Published June 29, 2012 12:00 am