News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Rub of the Green

August 11, 2007

Rub of the Green: Memories of Robinson Open are not forgotten

The Robinson Open Golf Classic took off like a rocket back in 1968. By 1969 even “Sports Illustrated” had taken notice when they featured an article entitled, “Here’s to You Mr. Robinson-The Pros Love You”.

Much credit for the continuing success of the tournament was due to the promotional expertise of Dick Heath along with the diligent efforts of Maxine Zwermann and Crawford County Country Club president, K. B. Correll.

With prize money growing to $100,000 in 1970, another strong array of professionals gathered to pit their skills against Robinson’s pristine layout that featured tight fairways and super slick greens, a venue that was always in mint condition.

Terre Haute native Ray Goddard entered Robinson’s open competition as an amateur. To get into the tournament proper, Ray had to survive a Monday qualifying round by finishing among the 10 low scorers from a list of 100 that included hopefuls who were commonly called “rabbits”. Subsequently, Ray fired a 71 which tied him with eight others for the last two places in the field.

After his birdie on the third extra hole, Goddard was officially in the field where he shot rounds of 77 and 70, missing the 36-hole cut by a couple of shots. Ray recalls, “After playing with the tour boys I decided I’d better become a club pro. They were so good it was scary.” Ray Goddard now has 37 years experience as a PGA Professional and he still “holds his own” in regional and national senior competition.

As the curtain came up on the 1970 edition of the Robinson Open it was unheralded Richard Bassett who started fastest with a six-under-par 65. Bobby Nichols’ 66 was good for second and a covey of players was tied for third with 67’s. Among them were: George Knudson, George Archer, Grier Jones, Charles Sifford, Hale Irwin, Bob Payne and Larry Hinson.

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