Duval heads field for Charity Skins Game at Mohawk Golf Club – The Daily Gazette


A powerhouse field — including former No. 1 player in the world David Duval — and many local connections make next month’s Charity Skins Game a must-see event for area golf enthusiasts.

Set for Aug. 16 at Mohawk Golf Club, the Charity Skins Game will benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Schenectady. Homestead Funding is the presenting sponsor.

Capital Region connections make this event special. Mohawk Golf Club owner Mike Rutherford, who pitched the idea to Homestead Funding public relations specialist Joel Slutsky, grew up as a caddie at Mohawk GC. Duval, although born in Jacksonville, Florida, also has local ties. Both his father, Bob, who played on the Champions Tour, and his late grandfather, Hap, who was the head pro at the now defunct Stanford Golf Club, were popular Schenectady residents and pros. Bob Duval also wrote a book about the Duval golfing family.

Meanwhile, tournament “host” Blaine McCallister is well known to local golf fans for his longtime involvement in the Ellis Hospital Capital District Skins Game. McCallister and Ed Fiori were regulars in that popular event that drew such golfing legends as Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Hubert Green, Fuzzy Zoeller, Fred Couples, Peter Jacobson, both David and Bob Duval, Laura Diaz, Morgan Pressel and many others, including special guest the legendary Sam Snead. Joe Daley was the main person responsible for securing the professionals for event chairman Dr. Steve Goodman and Neil Golub, one of the main sponsors. Several local courses like Mohawk Golf Club, Shaker Ridge CC and Albany Country Club were host clubs.

Slutsky, who has helped raise funds for numerous charity events over the last three decades, including the NFL Alumni charity golf event for the Ronald McDonald House, was asked by Rutherford a couple of years ago if he would be interested in helping to pull off a new skins game for a different local charity.

“The thing I’m most proud of is helping to raise $1.5 million for local kids,” Slutsky said. “So when Mike asked me if I would be involved in a redo of the skins game, and I asked him what charity he was thinking about, he mentioned that he used to be on the board for the Schenectady Boys and Girls Club. I knew I would be involved right then and there. Mike is the major force behind this event.”

Slutsky’s relationship with McCallister also was a major factor in helping to get this event off the ground.

“Over the years, I’ve become good friends with Blaine. I went to his house, and he’s stayed at my house. He’s a great guy and very charitable,” Slutsky said, “In all the other skins games, he and Ed Fiori were the class clowns, and they would get two other top pros to play. Ed can’t play golf anymore because of his back, so Fred Funk is the new Ed Fiori.”

David Duval is the main attraction. From 1997-2001, he won both the Open Championship and the Players Championship en route to 13 PGA Tour titles. In 2000, he became the No. 1 player in the world, unseating Tiger Woods. He once shot a 59.

Duval recently turned 50 and competes sparingly on the Champions Tour. He’s also been a color analyst on The Golf Channel, where he pulled no punches with his opinions on the game.

“David’s connection to the area is obviously his father,” Slutsky said. “But the younger generation will know him for his work on The Golf Channel. I’m sure they will appreciate that he’s the guy who knocked Tiger out of being No. 1.”

The affable McCallister has competed in special charity events in the Capital Region for 25 years. He’s played on both the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour. He has five PGA Tour victories and eight professional triumphs overall.

Joining Duval and McCallister will be longtime pros Fred Funk and Darren Clarke.

Funk, 66, known for being one of the most accurate drivers in professional golf, won eight times on the PGA Tour, including the 2005 Players Championship. He also has nine Champions Tour crowns and 21 professional wins overall. He played on the 2003 and 2005 Presidents Cup team and the 2004 Ryder Cup team.

Clarke, 53, has 21 professional victories worldwide, including the PGA Tour and the European Tour. He won three times on the PGA Tour. Clarke defeated both Duval in the semifinals and Woods in the finals of the World Golf Championships Accenture Match Play Championship. His biggest win was the 2011 Open Championship. He’s also been a huge factor for Europe in the Ryder Cup, competing in 1997, 1999, 2002 2004 and 2006. He was the European captain in 2016.

Tickets will cost $40 for adults and $20 for kids 15 years of age and younger. Parking will be available at Niskayuna High School, and buses will be running back and forth throughout the event. Ticket information is available on the Schenectady Boys and Girls Clubs website (bgcschenectady.org). For more information, contact Slutsky at 518-376-9990 or [email protected].

CHIP SHOTS

Kennedy Swedick, fresh off her victory in the NYS Women’s Amateur Championship this week at McGregor Links CC, will compete in the 73rd U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship Monday at The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Qualifying will be Monday and Tuesday, with the low 64 scorers advancing to match play on Wednesday.

Saratoga Springs High School graduate and Southern New Hampshire University golfer AJ Cavotta has been competing in the prestigious Men’s Porter Cup this week at Niagara Falls Country Club.

Heidi Harkins is the defending champion for the NEWGA Championship Tuesday and Wednesday at Ballston Spa Country Club. Other former titlists in the four-flight field include Rachel Barlette of Shaker Ridge CC, Mary Ellen Burt of Mohawk Golf Club and Susan Kahler of Ballston Spa CC.

Eagle Crest Golf Club Director of Instruction Scott Berliner shot 5-under-par to win last week’s Pro Classic No. 4 at Waubeeka Country Club. Eric Mabee of the CC of Pittsfield was second at 4-under-par. Meanwhile, Justin Lane of Woodstock Golf Club led the NENY PGA competitors in the Lenox New York State Open at Bethpage State Park. He was tied for second at 1-over-par.

Soaring Eagles GC at Mark Twain State Park is hosting the NYS Boys’ & Girls’ Junior Golf Championship July 26-27.

Hales Mills Country Club’s Two-Person Dash for the Cash Tournament will be held July 30 with a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start. The format will be nine holes of best-ball and nine holes of scramble. There will be gross and net prizes, but teams can’t win both. All players must have an established GHIN handicap index. Top prize will be $500. Entry fee is $150 per team and includes hot dogs and hamburgers at the turn. Call 518-736-4622 for more information.

The McGregor Links Invitational is scheduled for July 29-30. There will be three scratch divisions and will be limited to the first 54 teams that sign up. Entry fee is $350 per team and will include golf, cart and prize money. The championship division will play from the gold markers, the senior division will play from the white tees and the legends division will play from the white/green tees. Top prize will be $900 for all three divisions. For more information, contact McGregor Links CC head pro Michael Decker at 518-584-6664 or [email protected].

The Debbie Fawcett Memorial, to benefit the Empire Youth Open and local scholarships for youth bowlers, will be held Aug. 6 at 9 a.m. at Cobleskill G&CC. It will be a four-man scramble.  Entry fee is $125 a person and includes lunch at the turn and a dinner buffet after golf. For reservations, contact Chris Fawcett at 518-852-9372.

Schenectady Municipal Golf Course will host the 14th annual Schenectady City School District Athletic Hall of Fame Golf Tournament Sept 18. The format will be a modified four-person scramble. Entry fee is $420 per foursome and includes golf, cart, buffet and prizes. This event is named after SCSD Hall of Fame member Pete Famiano. Call Bob Pezzano at 518-346-9297 for more information.

Rotary Clubs from throughout the Capital Region are sponsoring the 24th annual Gift of Life International Golf Tournament  Sept. 12 at Pinehaven CC. The tournament provides funding to bring infants and children to Albany Medical Center for pediatric heart surgery. For more information, go to Home (planmygolfevent.com).

HOLES-IN-ONE

Jason Lower aced the 164-yard 17th hole with a 7-iron at Cobleskill Golf & Country Club.

Doug Roche used a sand wedge to register a hole-in-one on the 105-yard 23rd hole at The Edison Club.

EAGLES

At Mechanicville Golf Club, PJ Riley eagled the par-4 16th hole with a driver and a wedge, while Joe Mahoney eagled the par-5 fourth hole with a driver, 4-iron and 56 degree wedge.

At Schenectady Municipal Golf Course, the Quivey family continued their recent eagle surge. Dave Quivey eagled the par-4 fifth hole, while Lee and Richard Quivey eagled the par-5 12th hole during the same round together.

Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected].

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