Twenty-four of the nation's brightest minds and junior golfers were named to the HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team by the American Junior Golf Association and HP Wednesday. The 2007 team, sponsored for the 13th consecutive year by HP, consists of 12 young men and 12 young women who demonstrate the ability to excel both on the golf course and in the classroom.
To be eligible for the HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team, boys must have placed in the top 10 of an AJGA event, while girls needed a top-five finish. The selections were then based on grade-point average, class rank, SAT/ACT scores, leadership skills, community service and writing ability. Candidates were required to submit an essay or poem no longer than 400 words that creatively focused on the game of golf.
This year's overall essay winner was Erik Mayer of Appleton, Wis. Appleton East High School, where Mayer is enrolled as a senior, will receive a computer compliments of HP.
These outstanding individuals will be honored at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet Nov. 18 at The Grande Ballroom at Ginn Reunion Resort in Reunion, Fla. By being named to this team, each player is also eligible to participate in the Polo Golf Junior Classic, one of the most prestigious events in junior golf, taking place Nov. 17-23 at Ginn Reunion Resort.
"HP is delighted once again to recognize academic excellence with the naming of the 2007 HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team," said John Dayan, vice president of marketing, Personal Systems Group Americas, Hewlett Packard. "The AJGA works hard to prepare young adults for life after high school by instilling honor, perseverance and good sportsmanship. HP is proud to be associated with the AJGA and this great group of young adults."
Who is the Best Putter You Know?
By Erik Mayer
I'll never forget the day I met Jerry. It was a typical Wisconsin winter day. The snow was falling and I could see my breath in the air. Despite the weather, I was thrilled about spending the day at the Golf Dome. After the two hour drive, I was anxious to hit balls.
I first noticed Jerry while I was warming up. Jerry was working with a mini-tour player and the player seemed to be making every putt. Later I learned that Jerry was not only a putting instructor, he was an author, inventor, and a respected businessman. After the lesson ended, Jerry watched me hit wedges. Eventually he asked, "Who is the best putter you know?" "Ben Crenshaw," I answered without hesitation. Jerry asked again, "Who is the best putter you know?" As I stopped to look at Jerry, he said, "You are." So began our relationship.
That Saturday we worked together for four hours. As I practiced putting and chipping, we talked about life. After the "lesson" I felt fantastic about myself, my future and my golf game.
The next week we worked on my short game and more importantly, we worked on my mental game. "On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your putting?" Jerry asked. "Seven," I answered. "If you believe you are a seven, you'll never be a 10," Jerry said. Jerry's passion for the game inspired me.
Despite the distance, we worked together throughout the summer. Sessions always began with, "Who is the best putter you know?" Jerry never let me pay for a "lesson." He emphasized the importance of giving back to society and to the game of golf. As we worked on focus, concentration and attitude, we discussed academics, community service and my golf aspirations.
Last October, Jerry told me he had cancer. When his grandchildren asked him if he was going to die, he told them, "No, I'm going to fight, but if God needs a putting lesson..." Throughout his illness, Jerry and I talked on his good days. We talked candidly about everything from my dreams to his cancer, but somehow the conversation always returned to golf. As we talked, I felt myself growing up.
Jerry died in May. Although Jerry is gone, his passion lives on in the junior golfers, like me, that he influenced. Thanks to Jerry, I will always be "the best putter I know."