Niagara Gazette — Editor’s Note: While Ken Ruggiero continues a leave of absence, we are publishing some of his previous features. With the Porter Cup getting underway later this week, we bring you Ken’s column from July 27, 2013, which offers from note about some of the Porter Cup’s history, including some of the big names who once teed off at Niagara Falls Country Club.
Ever heard of Tiger Woods? Phil Michelson? Of course you have, or you wouldn’t be reading this golf commentary. They are currently the #1 and #2 ranked players in the universe. And, both of them have played in our Porter Cup.
Actually, there has been a multitude of the world’s premier players who have made their way through the amateur ranks on the road to the prestigious PGA Tour by way of the Niagara Falls Country Club. Deane Beman won the Porter Cup in 1964 and later became the Commissioner of the PGA Tour, serving a rapidly-rising organization from 1974 to 1994.
Ben Crenshaw played here and was crowned our 1972 Porter Cup champion. “Gentle Ben” went on to win 29 PGA events over his career, including two Masters titles. Scott Simpson won The Porter Cup in 1976 and went on to win the 1987 U.S. Open, defeating the iconic Tom Watson by a single stroke.
The oft-misunderstood David Duval won the Porter Cup in 1992 and went on to achieve the worlds’ #1 player ranking twice, dethroning Tiger Woods each time. Phil Michelson tied for second here in 1989, then won the Cup in 1990, besting Duval by a single stroke.
In 1994, Tiger Woods made his one and only appearance at NFCC. Controversy seems to follow this game great and the ‘94 Porter Cup was no exception. After three rounds, Tiger found himself within striking distance, only three shots off the lead held by Allen Doyle, a 46-year-old amateur.