Letters and stories continue on Sunday's US Open Challenge.
Reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, especially toward our amateur winner, John Atkinson. On her About.com Lung Cancer blog, Dr. Lynne Eldridge wrote:
I have to credit John with pouring rocket fuel on my desire to raise awareness about lung cancer. He is a strong supporter of the Lung Cancer Alliance, the only organization committed entirely to support for those living with lung cancer. His efforts to educate others about lung cancer, while he himself is in the midst of treatment, are humbling. Yet, his own humility is even more inspiring. After our conversation, I felt like I had been ministered to and healed - and I don't have cancer!>
But we're getting "suggestions", too, on how to make future Challenges better. Rob Peterson, for one, thinks there ought to be more places for the non-celebrity amateurs:
I find it truly nauseating that the people at Golf Digest had the audacity to make people jump through hoops and beg for your amusement for ONE slot at Torrey Pines. Although I realize that idiots like yourself think that celebrities are more important than "regular" people, I thought that the amount of money that gets pumped into your magazine through advertisements and other phony contests (for the eventual SPAM deluge), you would be able to afford at least one more slot....Truly pathetic.
Marty Slack, who also thought it would be better to have four 10-handicap, "regular guys" went further. Excerpts from his letter:
Just to sum it up, you chose a famous QB, who was basically a ringer. That's one spot wasted that had nothing to do with the Tiger Woods challenge. Then after that you choose another two celebrities that don't even have a 10 handicap, one of which has close ties to the number one coach in Butch Harmon, and the other, Matt Lauer, is a friend of Greg Norman's. So now we are down to one spot, one chance to have a guy that can actually legitimately live up to the Tiger Woods challenge. And as heartless as this sounds, you chose a man who as a person, I would be honored to know, but a man whose golf game was still suffering from the effects of a bout with cancer. A man, who on the longest golf course I have ever seen, chooses not to use a driver on virtually every televised hole except the 18th?
I have no idea what really went wrong in each golfer's game. I don't have any idea what their weaknesses are. Was Atkinson DOA with a hybrid off the tee??? How bout that carry on 13? 250 yards just to hit the fairway! Too bad we missed it! Did Atkinson meet with Phil before his round? Is that why he put away the driver?
Anyway, GD, better luck next year, this year's contest didn't live up to the hype...........
For the record, there was considerable interest in those celebrities you fellows would dump. (We liked them because they might bring more interest to the game, not just this round). To guage the depth of interest, check in with Justin Timberlake fans. The She Knows blog, which I don't get to as often as I should, or ShowBizSpy, which got lots of details about Timberlakes allergy problem during the round. Who knew?
Seriously, we hope to do this again next year and your suggestions are important. Thanks for sharing them.