Controversy surrounds Curry’s exemption

NBA superstar Stephen Curry created a bit of a stir in the golf world last week by accepting a sponsor’s exemption into the Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic, scheduled for early August in Hayward, California.

Outside of the majors, every regular (and Tour event offers a handful of weekly exemptions — entries into an event at the discretion of the tournament sponsor. These spots are typically given to career professionals who haven’t otherwise qualified for the event.

Some of these tour pros expressed frustration that Curry, a fine recreational golfer with a 2-handicap, would be given such a cherished spot — a tournament entry that could have the potential to change the career of a struggling pro golfer.

While I have a tremendous respect for the skill and dedication it must take to earn a living on any professional golf circuit, I would still have to side with tournament sponsors on this one.

Almost every spot — in every event — already goes to the most qualified golfers. Allowing sponsors to select just one or two spots for a skilled ‘big-name’ celebrity golfer can bring tremendous interest to a tournament — as it’s done in this case.

Ticket sales for the Ellie Mae Classic increased dramatically after Curry was announced as a participant.

Tournament sponsors pay tremendous amounts of money to have their names attached to a specific tournament.

Inviting headliners like Curry to participate should be a small concession for sponsors, to increase interest … it’ll be interesting to see how Curry performs.

The Love’s

Davis Love III has always been a favorite among golf fans in our area.

His friendship with local businessman Dean Patterson, led to many personal appearances in our area — even a local Pro-Am Tournament — that began nearly three decades ago.

It’s noteworthy to see that David Love III’s son, Dru, recently turned pro after a standout career for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

In fact, the 53-year old Love caddied for his son at this year’s U.S. Open at Erin Hills. Although he’s been focused on the Champion’s Tour the past couple of season’s, Love has scheduled a few, upcoming appearances on the regular tour this year in order to participate with his son — including this week’s Greenbrier Classic in nearby Sulphur Springs, WV.

In case you’re wondering … Dru’s given name is actually Davis Love, IV. The name ‘Dru’ is just short for ‘quadruple.’

Sinking Valley Best-Ball

Sinking Valley’s two-man Invitational begins today with one of its strongest fields in years. Head Pro Troy Monahan and his team will be busy all weekend, along with superintendent Neil Gartland and his grounds crew.

Jordan Kirsch and Matt Baer are the defending champions.

Standing Stone

Huntingdon’s Standing Stone Golf Club is reviving their own two-man Invitational after a few years of inactivity. Head pro Matt Willinsky is excited to invite golfers to this year’s event — to be held July 14-16. For information, call the pro shop at 643-4800.

Ken Love covers local golf for the Mirror. He can be reached at