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Porter Cup shows how agonizing the decision to cancel can be
Putting on the Porter Cup is a community effort (Porter Cup photo)
Putting on the Porter Cup is a community effort (Porter Cup photo)

By now, the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is well-known around the amateur golf world. The tournament schedule has been completely scrambled: 10 of the 14 USGA championships have been cancelled, and tournaments big and small have been either wiped from the calendar or moved to later dates.

Related: List of amateur tournaments affected by the coronavirus outbreak

Hundreds of tournaments have been affected, and while one's attention is drawn to the bigger picture of the ever-changing landscape and amateur golf's slow crawl toward "reopening", it is easy to lose sight of the fact that behind every cancellation and every reschedule is a complicated and sometimes agonizing decision-making process undertaken by a tournament committee.

Consider the Porter Cup in Niagara Falls, New York. One of the highlights of the summer Majors of Amateur Golf, the tournament has drawn a strong international field every year since 1959. More than that, it is a staple of the community, a tradition that practically the whole town takes part in. So when the decision was made to cancel the event for the first time ever in 2020, it was a tough blow to take for all involved.

Related: 2020 Porter Cup cancelled due to COVID-19

Jerry Sullivan of the Niagara Gazette has written an excellent article about just how firmly entrenched the Porter Cup is in the Niagara Falls community, and the agonizing, gut-wrenching process that tournament co-director Dena Armstrong and her committee went through to try to keep the tournament alive before ultimately having to pull the plug.

From the article:

"Right to the end, Dena Armstrong was still holding out hope. This was the Porter Cup, after all, which isn’t so much a golf tournament as a civic treasure."

"The Porter Cup has been a part of Armstrong’s life since she was a little girl. Her parents began hosting players in their home when the tourney started. The family tradition has been carried down through the years, as Dena and her siblings routinely host young golfers from around the world during the tournament."

But...

"The border to Canada was still closed. And what about all the players who traveled from around the globe? Would it be OK to house them with local families, despite COVID-19 fears? Who knew what the situation in New York would be by then? Could they keep fans safe?"

Well worth the read, and a reminder that sometimes a golf tournament is more than just a golf tournament. It also makes us appreciative of all of the committees who put on the tournaments we get to play in, and thankful that there are still plenty of great tournaments still on the calendar for 2020.

ABOUT THE Porter Cup

**Cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

One of the premier amateur events in the nation, this 72-hole stroke play invitational has lots of extra activities that give this event a special flavor. The winning player receives a green blazer, as well as an invitation to the Master of the Amateurs tournament in Melbourne, Australia. Pre- tournament qualifying is a few weeks prior to the event and approximately five spots are available. The qualifying field is open to the first 90 entrants with handicaps less than 3.

View Complete Tournament Information

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