Stocker Cup: 2005 Tournament Set for October 13-16

By Barry Salberg, for amateurgolf.com

Carmel, CA — (October 8, 2005) He was a visionary — a golfer, yachtsman, sportsman, and one of the key figures in Bay Area real estate throughout the 1980's. One of the founders of the Pacific Union Company, Peter Stocker was a prominent and accomplished developer, perhaps best known for his creation of the Opera Plaza, and his outspoken ambition for a downtown ballpark in San Francisco. Among his myriad of eclectic projects, was development of the Santa Lucia Preserve in Carmel Valley, where he died tragically, in a helicopter crash in 1990.

A revered and beloved figure by both friends, and associates, the Stocker Cup is a tribute and celebration to his legacy. "He was a treasure, wonderful to work with," says Mary Craig, a Stocker family friend and fellow sailor who served as Stocker's executive assistant and now handles the administration of the Stocker Cup. "He was the most charismatic person I've ever met, and you can see it in his friends that come out every year to support this tournament."

Headed and organized by close Stocker friends, Sandy Tatum, former President of the USGA, George Kelley, owner of Stevinson Ranch Golf Club, and Jack Elliott, former NCGA President, the Stocker Cup is homage to pure amateur golf, perhaps reminiscent of the days of Bobby Jones.

“We thought there was an opportunity to create a world-class amateur invitational, like so many of those held on the east coast every summer,” says Kelley. “Most of the big clubs in the east have an amateur invitational and it’s become a big tradition that plays a key part in the selection of Walker Cup team members.” Save for the Pacific Coast and Southwest Amateurs, there really were no other similar opportunities in the west, prior to the Stocker Cup. “Now it's beginning to pay off — we’re blessed with 20 first-time players this year, some of the finest amateurs in the country are coming out to play,” proclaims Kelley. “We’re finally starting to hit our stride, and are now one of the premier amateur invitationals west of the Mississippi.”

The Stocker field is comprised of 50 world-class invitees, who meet stringent eligibility requirements, and pay a minimal fee for their participation Offering both NCGA and national Golfweek points, the Stocker Cup also holds a one-day qualifying tournament at Harding Park in San Francisco, for regional players who were not among the original invites. On September 19, fifty-six competitors vied for five A-list spots in the main tournament. Those final A-list golfers are complimented by a matching number of qualified B-list competitors, with invitations extended to friends, relatives and associates of Peter Stocker, as well as to various sponsors and other supporters of the event. The B-players and sponsors are the ones who make this tournament work financially,” says Craig. Every A-player is teamed with a B-player in a handicapped best-ball competition held simultaneously with the individual stroke-championship.

“Peter was a guy who loved to compete, and he also loved the social aspects of the game,” says Kelley. “In our selection criteria we try to identify great players who are also great guys; those who’ll come in after the round, have a beer, tell jokes — good fun people to be around. That’s what Pete was all about, and that’s what we’re about as well.” It is a sentiment also reflected by the competitors. “They treat you like gold the entire event, from the pairings party all the way to the dinner dance the last night,” says former invitee, Randy Cross. “I’ve played in numerous memorial tournaments, and Pete Stocker must have been a special individual the way that they run this tournament, because it’s first-class all the way. Most memorial events don’t even come close to what they do at the Stocker Cup”

“Peter was one of the most engaging people I've ever known, and combined it with an element of energy, intellect, verve, and imagination,” recounts Tatum. “The only part about him that annoyed me, is that he only played about once a month…and then he seldom shot more than 75." Fitting then, that the tournament is held at the prestigious Preserve Golf Club near Carmel. It is the embodiment of Stocker’s vision, manifested on the 22,000 acres now known as the Santa Lucia Preserve. It is also the site where he died. “I have many wonderful experiences walking with him on that property, looking where we might put holes and where it all might fit,” says Tatum. “He left it to me and certainly it was an obligation, but it was also a privilege in that it was doing something to realize Peter Stocker’s vision.“ Much heralded in the national golf press, the Preserve Golf Club is invariably cited as one of the most beautiful inland landscapes in American golf. “We managed to develop a really first-class amateur event in a first-class setting, conducted in a first-class way, and that is certainly effectively representative of what Peter Stocker would have done if he were alive,“ says Tatum. “And being able to do that is a matter of profound satisfaction for me.”

A complete list of contestants can be viewed at- http://www.stockercup.com/contestants.htm

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