Niagara Gazette


January 27, 2013

McGRATH: Porter Cup takes a hit losing Denn


Niagara Gazette — One of his favorite stories was about Mike Viechie, a player from Medicine Hat, Alberta. It was back in the days of the national qualifier and golfers came from long distances to try to earn a spot in the tournament that was growing in prestige in the amateur ranks.

"Sunday night, I get a call. It was Viechie and he said, 'I'm over here at the Seagrams Tower. Can you come over and pick me up?' So I did. I said, 'Mike, how did you get here?' and he said, 'Mr. Denn, I hitch-hiked.' Now this kid hitch-hiked all the way from Alberta, Canada — and he didn't make the cut. So he had to hang around here for the rest of the tournament while the other guys played. Talk about disappointment. But he was a good kid."

It was those kind of experiences that club members have, Denn believed, that has kept the Porter Cup going and growing.

But there was a time the Porter Cup was taking some heat from members unhappy with giving up their golf course. At one point, during an awards ceremony in the 70s, Denn assured the players and everyone else the Porter Cup would continue.

"There were some dissidents," Denn recalled years later. "We had a minority, who happened to be a vocal minority, who didn't like the tournament because they had to give up the golf course for four days, but it never amounted to much. The tournament was never in jeopardy.”

Adjustments were made to the schedule and the course was opened for member play each day after all the Porter Cup players had teed off and no more came of it.

Denn was born and raised in Utica, studied at Niagara University and graduated in 1955. After a long career with Marine Midland Bank, where he rose to the position of district vice president, he joined the investment firm of Lytle Associates in 1976 and then started his own business — Thomas P. Denn Investments in Niagara Falls. His son, Steve, the Porter Cup's current director, joined him in 1997. Tom and Nan also have a daughter, Sharon.

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