Niagara Gazette


January 27, 2013

McGRATH: Porter Cup takes a hit losing Denn

Niagara Gazette — The Porter Cup tournament lost its “voice” last week and I lost a good friend. Tom Denn, one of the men who I will forever associate with the success of one of the best amateur golf tournaments in the nation, died at 79 after his failing health caught up to him.

For all the many years that I covered the Porter Cup, Denn was there with a warm greeting, a waiting golf cart and a story or two about what was going on that day.

Tom was what you would call a people person. I always enjoyed sitting with him at the Porter Cup media luncheon or at the players’ dinner because I knew he would generate some interesting and informative conversation with whoever was at the table.

Over the years, he was chairman of the Porter Cup Executive Committee and volunteered his time to make the tournament a success for more than 40 years. He sold ads, chaired the qualifier, reassured members about the tournament's future, housed players with his wife, Nan, and was the familiar voice on the public address system for the long drive contest off the 10th tee. And he served as chairman of the tournament in 1982.

Of all of those, to get a real feel for the Porter Cup, he said there was nothing like housing the players, a continuing tradition which he and Nan did along with many other Niagara Falls Country Club members.

"We housed players for 22 years," Denn told me for a story in 2003. "In fact, Nan was in charge of housing one year. Sometimes we had three kids, sometimes we had two kids. We never had a champion and never had anyone real close. But they were good kids. We never had a single incident in all those years."

Tom earned the “Voice of the Porter Cup” moniker for his many years of welcoming and introducing each of the players as they began their rounds on the first tee. That distinctive voice and articulate command of the language enhanced his talent as a great story teller.

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