President Fred Ridley, a member at Caves Valley Golf Club, addressed
the attendees at Monday’s Opening Ceremonies at the 15th
annual Canon Cup, as did Billy Andrade, a PGA TOUR veteran, AJGA
alumnus and former Rolex Junior Player of the Year.
at Canon Cup turned out to be a reunion from the 1987 Walker Cup,
when Ridley served as captain to Andrade and the victorious U.S.
Team at Sunningdale Golf Club in England.
fondly of his Walker Cup experiences, Ridley iterated his wish
to see today’s juniors parlay their AJGA and Canon Cup experience
into future participation in the Walker Cup and Curtis Cup matches.
is nothing greater than playing on a team and playing for your
country,” he said. “I know many of you are going to
have that opportunity. All I would say is that the professional
tour may be calling, but it will still be there after that match.”
has maintained an outstanding amateur career, deciding against
turning pro like many of the teammates with whom he won an NCAA
Championship at the University of Florida – Andy Bean, Andy
North and Gary Koch.
ask me if it’s something I regret, “ he said. “Absolutely
not. I’m very happy I made the decision I did. There is
a wonderful life in golf other than playing on Tour.”
to practice law, Ridley is currently in his first of two years
as USGA president, overseeing the “For the Good of the Game”
initiative, which will provide $70 million by the end of the decade
to golf programs for kids, disabled players and others in need.
assure you there will be an emphasis on junior golf – and
that includes the level at which you play the game,” he
said, speaking directly to the Canon Cup participants for a moment.
an up-close view of junior golf at the U.S. Girls’ Junior
Championship this summer, where he walked away impressed by the
skill and the sportsmanship on display, especially after watching
the championship match between Julieta Granada and Jane Park.
could tell they were trying as hard as they could to win that
championship, but they weren’t going to let it affect their
friendship,” he said.
encouraged the juniors to give back to the game.
you are all great golfers, you’re going to have the red
carpet rolled out for you quite often. As you know already, it
takes dozens or hundreds or sometimes thousands of volunteers
to run great golf tournaments. If there’s anything you remember
from what I say tonight, it is that these volunteers do what they
do because they like you and they love the game of golf. Just
remember the two very simple words of ‘Thank you.’”
Just as Ridley
and the USGA are dedicated to amateur golf, so is Caves Valley.
When Caves Valley was dedicated in 1991, they reinforced that
commitment by inviting four noted amateurs to begin a tradition
known as the Chesapeake Cup. Ridley, Jay Sigel, Vinnie Giles and
Charlie Yates were featured in that inaugural event.
no place in the world I enjoy coming to more than Caves Valley,”
Ridley commented. “It’s all about the people –
it’s about the members, it’s about the staff and it’s
about the leadership who are so committed to providing this excellent
environment to enjoy the game.”
For many in
attendance at this week’s Canon Cup, the feeling will surely
be the same.