9/01/2015

Welcome Home, Ron

This magazine article is part of Summer 2015 / Issue 82

A memorable year continues for acclaimed golf writer Ron Sirak ’72

Ron Sirak ’72, P’04 has worked more than 140 major golf championships during his distinguished career as a golf writer, from the hallowed grounds of St. Andrews to the rocky shoreline of Pebble Beach. In July, the senior writer for Golf Digest and former executive editor of Golf World had a chance to cover a major in a place he never imagined—his beloved college town.

Sirak took a trip back in time when he covered the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open, hosted by Lancaster Country Club from July 9–12. It marked the continuation of a remarkable year for Sirak, who recently received the PGA of America Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award and the Lincoln Werden Journalism Award from the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association. The event also gave Sirak a chance to reconnect with familiar faces from F&M, including his classmate, Paul Ware ’72 (see class note on page 36).

F&M was a sponsor of the Women’s Open, the first major sporting championship to be played in Lancaster or south central Pennsylvania. More than 2,000 volunteers trained at the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center in June, and the College offered a hospitality venue at the course.

We asked Ron for his top memories from the championship:

 

Ron Sirak’s Top 10 Memories from the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open in Lancaster

10. The crowds. The electric atmosphere included nearly 135,000 spectators throughout the week, a record for the U.S. Women’s Open.

9. The course: Those of us who knew Lancaster Country Club were well aware that it’s a hidden gem. It was fun to watch the world discover it as well.

8. The community: Everyone raved about the physical beauty of Lancaster County and the generosity of the people. I’ve never been to a tournament where the volunteers were as courteous as they were at this Open.

7. The questions: When players found out I had gone to college in Lancaster, they started pumping me with questions about restaurants, arts and crafts, and how to experience Amish culture. It was fun to tell them about Lancaster Central Market and more.

6. The college: The growth of campus, not just from the time I was there, but even since my daughter, Rachel, graduated in 2004, is unbelievably impressive. The school has what it never had before—a college town around it—as well as world-class athletic facilities.

5. The town: There were just so many places to go. Lancaster was surprisingly vibrant. The Marriott where I stayed was Watt & Shand department store when I was there. I was impressed by the number of restaurants within walking distance of the hotel.

4. The drive: I drove to Lancaster from my home on Cape Cod, and the ride along the Pennsylvania Turnpike was like a trip back in time. The Amish culture has preserved 18th-century charm surrounding 21st-century development.

3. The laughs: I had dinner two nights with six caddies who rented a house near the golf course and cooked on their grill every night. Hearing them trying to unravel Pennsylvania liquor laws was hilarious. Walking into Costco and trying to find the liquor section was a wake-up call for them.

2. The attention: The local newspaper and television station did stories about this F&M guy coming back to cover the U.S. Women’s Open.

1. The tournament: Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about. And this U.S. Women’s Open had a great finish that went down to the last hole and produced an extremely likable winner, 20-year-old In Gee Chun. A great golf course in a great community produced a great winner.

 

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