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Mike Weir named International Team Captain for 2024 Presidents Cup

Presidents Cup and PGA TOUR officials announced this week, 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir has been named captain of the International Team for the 2024 Presidents Cup, to be contested at Royal Montreal Golf Club in Montreal, Quebec, Canada for the first time since 2007.

The President’s Cup’s return to Royal Montreal marks a career highlight for the BYU golf alum as the site of his individual win over Tiger Woods in the Singles matches on the final day of the 2007 event. Weir defeated Woods 1up after Woods just missed a chip-in on the final hole.

Weir said, “When I look back, I have so many incredible memories associated with this event whether it be my debut in 2000; winning my Singles match against Tiger in 2007 at Royal Montreal (photo above); witnessing Ernie create the shield in 2019; and then seeing Trevor carry that momentum in 2022. Now as I look with anticipation toward 2024, I couldn’t be more excited to lead the International Team into my home country of Canada for what will surely be the experience of a lifetime.”

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UGA Names Colin Clawson as new Director, Championships and Golf Operations

The last line of the job posting for the Utah Golf Association’s director of championships and golf operations was cautionary. Candidates needed the “ability to work an extensive schedule during the tournament season.”

That’s exactly what attracted Colin Clawson to the position.

Clawson was promoted to that job within the UGA staff, extending a series of upward transactions that started when former executive director Jacob Miller moved to the United States Golf Association in May. After an extensive search, Easton Folster was elevated to succeed Miller in September, then Clawson moved into Folster’s role in November.

“I had my sights set on it, really all year,” Clawson said, hoping the sequence of promotions would materialize.

Clawson may be a beginning golfer, but “he is a fast riser in the golf industry,” Folster said.

A Utah Valley University graduate and native of Salem, Oregon, Colin Clawson’s UGA ascent has happened quickly. He was a UGA intern only a year ago.

His ascent has happened quickly. As Clawson observed to his wife, Emily (photo above), he was a UGA intern only a year ago. He accepted a full-time job as operations manager in January, and was promoted within 11 months.

Two developments in 2022 made that possible: Clawson proved himself amid the UGA’s temporary staffing shortage after Miller’s departure, and the game continued to make quite an impression on him. He discovered how much he loved administering UGA events, while being primarily responsible for all of the women’s championships.

In early August, a COVID-19 diagnosis sidelined Folster for the Women’s State Amateur. That news came 36 hours before the stroke-play qualifying round commenced. Clawson realized, “OK, this is my show.”

The production was a hit, as the 116th Women’s State Am at the Ogden Golf & Country Club became memorable with Kelsey Chugg’s fifth career victory. “Not necessarily because of me, but that was just the smoothest week,” said Clawson, who experienced the satisfaction of having staged a successful tournament during a celebratory dinner with the UGA interns who helped him.

That week was one more example of how Clawson “quickly gained the respect of his colleagues,” Folster said.

Later in August, on a cool morning in Parleys Canyon, Clawson was placing the markers on tee boxes as the sun was rising spectacularly over Mountain Dell Golf Course. He thought to himself, “This is my job?”

And it fully is his job now. He’s responsible for the UGA’s annual calendar of 12 championships, with the premier events of 2023 including the 125th Utah State Amateur at The Country Club in Salt Lake City and the 117th Women’s State Amateur at Jeremy Ranch Golf & Country Club.

The job description covers USGA qualifying events in Utah, plus “site selection, registration, qualifying events, volunteer coordination, course marking and all aspects of tournament-day logistics” for the UGA championship schedule.

As a UVU student majoring in public relations, Clawson interned in the athletic department and knew he wanted to work in sports. Golf entered the picture when a friend encouraged him to apply for a UGA internship. He missed the deadline for 2020, but got that opportunity in 2021 and embraced it, asking Miller and Folster to mentor him. Clawson soon recognized that he liked “administering a game that brought people so much joy,” he said. “It’s not hard for me to wake up at 4 a.m., because I want to go to the golf course.”

Feature written by Fairways Media senior writer Kurt Kragthorpe.

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Summerhays earns Korn Ferry Tour status to begin 2023

Daniel Summerhays earned Korn Ferry Tour full membership to begin the 2023 season by tying for 17th place in the final stage of qualifying at Savannah, Georgia, in mid-November.

Approaching his 39th birthday in December, Daniel Summerhays is eliminating “retirement” and “comeback” from his vocabulary. A two-year detour from his touring pro life, time spent as a Davis High school teacher and BYU volunteer assistant coach, has led him back to Korn Ferry Tour membership.

His outlook? Enjoying what he’s doing in the moment.

Summerhays earned Korn Ferry Tour full membership to begin the 2023 season by tying for 17th place in the final stage of qualifying at Savannah, Georgia, in mid-November. The top-40 finish gives the graduate of Davis High School and BYU eight guaranteed starts as the season begins in January in the Bahamas. As of mid-April, he’ll be subject to periodic, performance-based reordering of golfers’ access to tournaments.

Summerhays will join BYU alumnus Patrick Fishburn, who earned full status for a third KFT season with a top-75 finish in the 2022 standings. Another ex-Cougar, Peter Kuest, will have low conditional status in 2023 after tying for 125th in the final stage.

Summerhays (65-69-72-72) finished two strokes out of the top 10, which would  have given him 12 guaranteed starts. He deserves credit, though, for steadying himself during the final round, playing the last seven holes in 1 under par. Summerhays stayed comfortably inside the top 40, a goal he targeted this past summer.

Approaching his 39th birthday in December, Daniel Summerhays is eliminating “retirement” and “comeback” from his vocabulary.

“I wasn’t planning and scheming for a PGA Tour comeback or anything,” he said. “I just wanted to keep the goal short term and put in my best effort in preparation. (The final stage) was so fun and terrifying at the same time. I was nervous the entire week, which is so healthy and natural when you work hard for something and when you want to perform at a high level. … I was able to deal with some adversity and anxiety and finish how I wanted to.”

Summerhays added, “Now, I will reevaluate what my next short-term plans are and work toward that.”

 

Feature written by Fairways Media Senior Writer, Kurt Kragthorpe. Photos by Fairways Media.

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UGA Gold Club Award – Karen Gardiner

Being paired with Karen Gardiner for the first time in a tournament helped Sally Milbank produce the best round of her life. Gardiner’s effect on every golfer may not be quite that dramatic, yet there’s no doubt that thousands of women have benefited from her organizing ability.

Gardiner’s work with six local and statewide golf groups validates her selection as the 2022 Gold Club Award winner, presented by the Utah Golf Association.

How do you describe a worthy recipient of the Gold Club Award? The UGA’s definition is a good starting point, identifying a person “who through significant achievement or unselfish service has contributed to the history and tradition of the game of golf in Utah, and whose personal integrity, sportsmanship, common courtesy, loyalty and friendship earn the love of fellow golfers.”

Another way of framing it? “Because I never say no,” Gardiner observed, laughing.

Karen Gardiner, the 2022 UGA Gold Club Award honoree, loves golf. Her husband, Ron, no longer plays, but “I’m making up for him,” Gardiner said, by playing six days a week.

Well, that explains why she’s always being asked to launch and administer golf leagues at various levels.

“I’m very organized and I truly like people and I want things to be the best they could be,” added Gardiner, who received the UGA Lady Award in 2013. “I kind of look at myself as a cheerleader, more than anything.”

While working at Hill Air Force Base, she directed a league for Boeing employees for 22 years. Perhaps not surprisingly, that group dissolved upon Gardiner’s retirement. Her influence expanded, though. Gardiner is involved with associations at Schneiter’s Riverside, Hill AFB, The Barn GC, Eagle Lake GC, the Northern Utah Golf Association (an alliance of eight courses, with team matches) and the UGA, as a third-year board member.

Informally, “She has always been the source of information about women’s golf, tournaments, league play and, of course, the Rules of Golf,” Milbank said in nominating Gardiner for the Gold Club Award.

Gardiner loves golf. Her husband, Ron, no longer plays, but “I’m making up for him,” Gardiner said, by playing six days a week.

That reflects commitment beyond her personal interest in the game, as the members of those golf associations would attest. Remember, “loyalty” is one of those Golf Club Award traits. Mary Amidan long ago was one of Gardiner’s first golf partners, and they played together again in the recent Joyce Billings Memorial tournament in Hurricane. And then there’s Milbank, who acknowledges her golf performance never has matched that initial success with Gardiner. But “fortunately,” she said, my friendship with Karen has been unfailing ever since.”

Read more from Fairways Media senior writer Kurt Kragthorpe in the November issue of Fairways magazine. 

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UGA Lady Award – Terry Norman Hansen

Terry Norman Hansen assumed an important role in golf from the very start, filling out her family’s foursome.

The 2022 UGA Lady Award is best viewed in that family portrait. Upon receiving the news of her honor, Hansen started naming relatives who were more deserving of being recognized. Technically, with “Lady” in the title, the only other qualifier would be her mother.

That’s a good place to start, for multiple reasons. Mary Norman, who died in 2017, characterized the definition of an award that’s “based on women’s golf participation, giving back to women’s golf, passion, love and respect for the game, teamwork that makes a difference and being a friend, leader and inspiration to your peers.”

She was overlooked regarding the UGA Lady Award, created in 2012. Yet here’s where it all begins to make sense: As she approaches her 60th birthday next year, Terry is becoming more like Mary.

“The older I get, the more traits I’ve picked up from her,” Hansen said. “I’m more patient, more understanding, more encouraging to people I’m playing with. … She was amazing.”

The other element that justifies this recognition is how Hansen’s playing career tends to be undervalued. That’s possibly because since winning the Senior Women’s State Amateur in her first year of eligibility (2013), she has not pursued a senior golf career. Hansen expects to play more competitive golf once she retires from working as the registrar at Dixon Middle School in Provo.

Asked where golf fits into her life now, Terry Norman Hansen said, “Oh, I love it. I love to play … I’m always trying to get better.”

In any case, her Women’s State Amateur record is phenomenal, even beyond the four victories in the early 1980s before she turned pro and played what’s now the Epson Tour. She twice placed second in the Women’s State Am and added several other top-five finishes, including one at age 16 and another in her 40s, when the 100th tournament was staged.

In nominating Hansen for the UGA Lady Award, former recipient Margaret McDonough credited her with supporting women’s golf for more than 40 years. As she spoke, Hansen had just arrived home from playing in the annual Joyce Billings Memorial tournament in southern Utah, honoring a former UGA Lady Award winner.

 

Read more about the UGA Lady Award by Fairways Media senior writer Kurt Kragthorpe in the November issue of Fairways magazine. 

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Volunteer of the Year – Jim Kaiserman

If he chose one course to play forever, Jim Kaiserman would pick Wasatch Mountain’s Lake Course, near his home in the Heber Valley.

The Utah Golf Association’s Volunteer of the Year award recognizes someone who has “demonstrated outstanding commitment and contribution to the UGA.”

Nothing in that description calls for performing lifesaving measures, yet Jim Kaiserman’s response was necessary in a team effort that kept Denny Wood alive after a heart attack on a golf course in St. George in November 2021.

Rating golf courses for the UGA rarely involves such drama. Wood is thankful that Kaiserman, who made the 911 call and requested that a defibrillator be brought from the clubhouse to the 18th tee at Sun River GC. Ted McGregor and Wood’s brother Blaine attended to him before paramedics arrived, according to KSL.com.

That episode, fortunately, is memorable for the right reasons as Kaiserman reflects on a dozen years of UGA involvement that led to his 2022 Volunteer of the Year award.

A love of golf that began while Kaiserman was attending Montana State has only grown over the past 60-plus years, resulting in visits to plush, pristine courses from Hawaii to Florida. Such conditioning is quite a leap from the unwatered fairways and oil-covered sand greens of the Elks course that no longer exists in Bozeman, Montana. If he chose one course to play forever, Kaiserman would pick Wasatch Mountain’s Lake Course, near his home in the Heber Valley.

Having joined in about 80 course ratings throughout Utah, Kaiserman is credited with “participating whenever possible, not just at the ‘better’ courses,” UGA board member Tina Mathieu said in nominating him as Volunteer of the Year.

Read more from Fairways Media senior writer Kurt Kragthorpe in the November issue of Fairways magazine.

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Senior Men’s Player of the Year – Shane McMillan

His golf story is traced to Bountiful Ridge, which remains his home course. “Golf landed in my life,” Shane McMillan said, “and I just became obsessed.”

Matthew Lyons deserves an assist for Shane McMillan’s Senior Men’s Player of the Year award. So, remarkably enough, does runner-up David Booth.

Booth’s quarterfinal loss to another team in the Senior division of the Utah Four-Ball Championship in September created an opening for McMillan to overtake him in the Player of the Year standings. That would have happened only if McMillan and his partner won the tournament, which is exactly what Booth exhorted him to do.

McMillan and Lyons followed through with a 2-and-1 victory over Brigham Gibbs-Jon Wright in the final match at Valley View Golf Course. McMillan, a financial planner who lives in Bountiful, finished with 302.5 points to 292.5 for Booth, who also won four titles this season, including a tie for the low-amateur award in the Kelly Woodland Utah Senior Open.

One highlight among Shane McMillan’s Player Performance Ranking points accumulation was making match play in the Utah State Amateur.

McMillan was credited with victories in the Coral Canyon Senior Amateur, the St. George Amateur, the senior division of the Utah Mid-Amateur Championship (tying with Bob Mitchell) and the Four-Ball.

His golf story is traced to Bountiful Ridge, which remains his home course. “Golf landed in my life,” McMillan said, “and I just became obsessed.”

He played one year for Utah State’s golf team and has had some success in amateur tournaments over the years, but this year marked a major breakthrough. In his 50s, he has caught up to the big-name players of his age group. “I’m really playing the best golf of my life, as a senior,” McMillan said. “It’s been fun to do what I’m doing now.”

 

Read more from Fairways Media senior writer Kurt Kragthorpe in the November issue of Fairways magazine.

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Senior Women’s Player of the Year – Annette Gaiotti

The Senior Women’s Player of the Year award is Annette Gaiotti’s fourth in a row and seventh since the category was created in 2012.

Annette Gaiotti knows her reign as the Senior Women’s Player of the Year eventually will end, although nothing suggests that will happen any time soon.

Certainly, no one who watched her play in 2022 is predicting that any such change will result from the demise of her game, even as she turns 70 in April.

Her age-defying ability surfaced in multiple ways this season, as Gaiotti won the Senior Women’s State Amateur for the first time in three years, competed favorably against college golfers in other Utah Golf Association events and dominated the senior women’s Player Performance Ranking. The Player of the Year award is the Park City resident’s fourth in a row and seventh since the category was created in 2012 (Sue Nyhus, now a professional, is the only other winner).

Gaiotti finished with 212.5 points to 125 for Karen Seaman and 120 for Roberta Scott. She won the Senior Women’s State Am, tied for first place in the Moab Icebreaker, tied for ninth in the women’s division of the Winterchamps, placed ninth in the Mary Lou Baker Open and was the low senior in the Women’s Stroke Play Championship.

Her age-defying ability surfaced in multiple ways this season, as Gaiotti won the Senior Women’s State Amateur for the first time in three years.

Gaiotti needed all the steadiness, toughness and resourcefulness that define her game to outlast 58-year-old Melanie Christensen in the final match of the Senior Women’s State Am at Bonneville Golf Course in August. The victory, her seventh in 20 years of eligibility, completed a week when she matched her age with a 69 in the first round of stroke-play qualifying. The achievement left her one win short of Bev Nelson’s record of eight victories in a single UGA event and was satisfying because of the demands of “keeping it together” for 72 holes, she said.

I’m pleased to have been able to compete as long as I have been,” Gaiotti said. “I’m looking forward to next year.”

And well beyond then, by all appearances.

Read more from Fairways Media senior writer Kurt Kragthorpe in the November issue of Fairways magazine.

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Women’s Player of the Year – Kelsey Chugg

Kelsey Chugg earned Player of the Year points by reaching the round of 16 in the U.S. Women’s Four-Ball in Puerto Rico with Julia Potter-Bobb in April.

Following her three victories in Utah Golf Association events in 2022, Kelsey Chugg used phrases such as “joy” and “spark” to describe her renewed attitude about the game.

Summarizing a season that produced her fifth UGA Women’s Player of the Year award, Chugg kept coming back to one key word: “Fun.”

Sure, winning a fifth Women’s State Amateur title is fun, and the same is true of the UGA Winterchamps and the Mary Lou Baker Open. Yet none of those achievements may have been possible if not for Chugg’s rejuvenated approach to golf at age 31. The fun came before the wins.

When you put so much into it and you’re not seeing the results you want, it becomes really challenging and not fun,” Chugg said. “I just wanted to go back to the reasons why I started playing.”

Chugg successfully overhauled her putting stroke using a putting mat in her basement with longtime coach Lynsey Myers, the head professional at Willow Creek CC.

To have fun again, in other words, being outdoors and being around friends. Stemming from her victory in the 2017 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, Chugg had traveled and played in a lot of tournaments for the next four years, while dealing with her own heightened expectations. Somewhere along the way, she lost the joy that gave once gave her.

So she took a break from the game from November through February, focusing on her job as the associate director of Salt Lake City Golf. The exception was the putting mat in her basement, where she and longtime coach Lynsey Myers, the head professional of Willow Creek Country Club, overhauled her stroke.

It worked. If any aspect of her game defined Chugg’s 2022 season, it was putting. The success started with Winterchamps in March, where she “felt like the old me again,” Chugg said. “I hadn’t felt that way in a long time.”

Chugg then earned Player of the Year points by reaching the round of 16 in the U.S. Women’s Four-Ball in Puerto Rico with Julia Potter-Bobb in April, before winning the Mary Lou Baker Open in tough weather conditions at Fox Hollow Golf Course in June.

Read more from Fairways Media senior writer Kurt Kragthorpe in the November issue of Fairways magazine. 

 

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Men’s Player of the Year – Zac Jones

 

Jones started piling up PPR points with a win in the Coral Canyon Amateur in early January.

Trying to win the tournament is the best strategy for becoming the low amateur in the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open.

A snapshot of the high standards that make Zac Jones a great golfer came alongside the 18th green at Riverside Country Club in August, when he somewhat reluctantly accepted congratulations after finishing first among the amateur contestants. The BYU golfer from Lone Peak High School was disappointed with a closing 71 that dropped him to a tie for eighth place overall.

As he explained later, “You’re trying to beat everybody there, and being low amateur is just one of those things that comes when you play well.”

Same story with his 2022 Men’s Player of the Year award in the Utah Golf Association, which he describes as “one of those goals that you accomplish without necessarily trying to accomplish.”

In other words, Jones just played golf, and added them up in the end. With four victories and four runner-up finishes, he posted 508.5 points to 354.5 for his younger brother Cooper, the 2021 Player of the Year.

Zac Jones won the 2022 Utah State Amateur defeating Simon Kwon 4 and 3 in July at Wasatch Mountain State Park’s Soldier Hollow Golf Course.

Jones started piling up points with a win in the Coral Canyon Amateur over BYU teammate Carson Lundell in early January and added a victory in The Oaks Open in Spanish Fork with a 64-63 showing in April. Jones jumped ahead of his brother by winning the State Amateur at Soldier Hollow Golf Course in July (Cooper was upset in the first round of match play), beating Simon Kwon 4 and 3 in the final match, and added the low-amateur title in the Utah Open with a 66-68-71 performance in Provo.

The result was a satisfying UGA season.

Read more from Fairways Media senior writer Kurt Kragthorpe in the upcoming November issue of Fairways magazine.