Jerry Rich hoists a metaphorical “Quiet Please” placard when addressing certain upcoming tournaments at his Rich Harvest Farms golf course.
Other events coming to the private Sugar Grove venue are far less hush-hush.
Either way, the buzz soon to circulate leaves Rich content about Rich Harvest Farms’ steady climb up the national golfing consciousness. There figures to be more when he reveals further specifics.
“It’s all about growing the game. There’s got to be a way to grow the game,” Rich said. “That’s what we like and what we want to do.”
Rich Harvest’s prestige will be the biggest thing at stake for at least one happening. On Sept. 26, days before the Ryder Cup begins at Medinah Country Club, Rich Harvest will host a Ryder Cup Captain’s Challenge.
Golfers will participate on 12-member teams led by past Ryder Cup captains. The roster includes Raymond Floyd, Tom Kite and Lee Trevino.
Participants paid $6,000 to take part in the non-spectator round, which benefits the PGA Foundation and the Kids Golf Foundation of Illinois, the latter of which is housed at Rich Harvest. The price also included an official team photo and two weekly passes to the Ryder Cup, an international competition between the United States and Europe.
Three years ago, Rich Harvest hosted the women’s Ryder equivalent, the Solheim Cup, and Rich already was laying groundwork to bring international golf back.
Within 30 to 60 days, Rich said, he will be able to announce a new international LPGA endeavor that’s pegged for Rich Harvest for “years to come.”
“It’s a big thing for the county going forward,” Rich said, “and we’re planning on having it here a long time.”
Working with LPGA and Solheim officials for the past several years, Rich has spoken of interest in an event that truly highlights the global scope of the women’s game. Entering this weekend’s Jamie Farr Toledo Classic, eight of the LPGA’s top 10 money winners are of Asian descent.
Holding his cards, if not his tongue, Rich would not yet speculate on the scope of the tournament.
On the national – and collegiate – scale, Rich and course executives recently submitted a proposal to host an NCAA Division I men’s or women’s national championship later this decade, its third such petition in five years.
Rich Harvest, the home course of the men’s and women’s teams at Rich’s alma mater, Northern Illinois, also might be in the running to host championships for both genders in successive weeks, Rich said.
The USGA already has broken any déja vu precedent by scheduling both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst in June 2014.
Several key NCAA officials visited Rich Harvest within the past several weeks, and Rich expects an announcement from the organization before the end of the year, if not sooner.
Until then, Rich knows his course will host the Western Golf Association’s 2015 Western Amateur and 2017 Centennial Western Junior. He’ll address any new additions soon enough.
Teeing off for the title
The St. Charles Men’s Golf Tournament is set to conclude on Saturday and Sunday mornings with match-play semifinals and finals across six flights.
Here’s a look at the schedule:
Saturday: Brian Charles vs. Garrett Patten, 7 a.m.; Nick Edwards vs. Matt Daly, 7:07 a.m. Sunday: Semifinal winners, 8:15 a.m.
Saturday: Dave Laughton vs. Jim Funk, 7:15 a.m.; Rod Stablein vs. Matt Reams, 7:22 a.m. Sunday: Semifinal winners, 8 a.m.
Saturday: Brian Shaunnessy vs. Ron Cornwell, 7:37 a.m.; Doug Throneburg vs. Ron Ingold, 7:45 a.m. Sunday: Semifinal winners, 7:45 a.m.
Saturday: Ken Celic vs. Patrick Devito, 7:52 a.m.; Chuck Bowgren vs. Bill Warner, 8 a.m. Sunday: Semifinal winners, 7:30 a.m.
Saturday: Dean Bemis vs. John Pearson, 8:15 a.m.; Mike McFarlane vs. Tim Bober, 8:22 a.m. Sunday: Semifinal winners, 7:15 a.m.
Saturday: Scott Clancy vs. Steve Throne, 8:30 a.m.; Dave Davenport vs. Matt Riebe, 8:37 a.m. Sunday: Semifinal winners, 7 a.m.
St. Charles resident Blake Biddle will take aim at the rest of a talented field beginning Monday, as the weeklong U.S. Amateur opens in suburban Denver.
A UNLV junior and Wheaton Academy graduate, Biddle placed second in the stroke-play portion of last year’s Amateur at Wisconsin’s Erin Hills, then advanced to the third round of match play. Stroke play for the 2012 event is set for Cherry Hills Country Club and CommonGround Golf Course, with match play at Cherry Hills.
“I really, really went revenge on last year. I really relied on that a lot,” Biddle said. “Going to Cherry Hills, I know I’ll be thinking a lot about what happened last year at Erin Hills.”