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Fred Funk and the Comic Strip Open

By John Strege

Fred Funk on Thursday received the key to the village of Endicott, N.Y., site of this week’s Dick’s Sporting Goods Open, a good enough reason to recall the old PGA Tour event played there, the B.C. Open.

The B.C. Open began as the Broome County Open (the inaugural, in 1971, was won by Butch Harmon), but was changed to the B.C. Open the following year and eventually became a double entendre, the B.C. standing for either Broome County or the name of the comic strip drawn by renowned local cartoonist Johnny Hart, who served as an unofficial host of the event.

The golf was serious; Funk won it in 1996 and other past champions include Fred Couples, John Daly, Hal Sutton, Craig Stadler and Tom Kite. But otherwise, there was an irreverence to the tournament, and it even turned up in the trophy: One of Hart’s B.C. cavemen having taken so big a divot that the ball and tee are attached to divot at the end of the golf club.

In the run-up to the tournament and during tournament week, Hart’s daily cartoons were golf-related, usually spoofing the sport in some capacity, as did our favorite among them, shown here:

B.C. strip.jpg