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Published: Tuesday, 11/13/2007

2011 Senior Open at Inverness

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Bruce Lietzke won the 2003 Senior Open at Inverness, which has already hosted six USGA championships. Bruce Lietzke won the 2003 Senior Open at Inverness, which has already hosted six USGA championships.
WADSWORTH / BLADE Enlarge

Four years ago Inverness Club hosted the U.S. Senior Open and had considerable success. The club hopes to do the same four years from now.

Plans were announced yesterday for Inverness to again host the prestigious event July 28-31, 2011. The club has been in negotiations with the United States Golf Association since 2003 in regards to another visit.

"It was so successful that we wanted to bring whatever USGA championship we could back to Toledo as soon as possible," said Jim Schwarzkopf, president of the club's board of governors.

Inverness has hired Toledo Classic, Inc. to oversee sales and marketing, just as it did in 2003. Judd Silverman, the president of Toledo Classic, Inc., said the local economy took in between $25 and $30 million from the 2003 event.

"I'm confident that the business community of the region will get behind Inverness and support their efforts," Silverman said. "I'm confident that area businesses and the community will support us the way they did in '03."

Conflict could arise between the Senior Open and the annual Jamie Farr Classic held at Highland Meadows. Silverman said at least six weeks of separation would be needed between the events, which are both organized by Silverman's group. Toledo Classic, Inc. does not currently have a contract with the LPGA beyond 2009 but will soon enter negotiations.

Silverman said a marketing plan regarding the Senior Open will be released early next year followed by his group seeking corporations to fill hospitality tents. Forty tents were rented in 2003 when about 150,000 spectators attended the championship. Silverman said about $450,000 was raised for children's charities.

"The community has always been very supportive of Inverness Club," Schwarzkopf said. "We know it's going to be difficult with the economy the way it is today. Hopefully it's going to continue to grow and in five years we'll be in a much better position than we are right now."

This will be the seventh USGA championship Inverness has hosted. Four U.S. Opens (1920, '31, '57 and '79) have been played at the club.

Prominent golfers that will become eligible (50 years old) before the 2011 Senior Open include Fred Couples, Paul Azinger, Tome Lehman, Bob Tway, Hal Sutton, Kenny Perry, Mark Calcavecchia, Corey Pavin, Joey Sindelar and Brad Faxon.

Bruce Lietzke won the 2003 Senior Open.

It will be the fifth time the Senior Open has come to Ohio. Previously it was played at Scioto Country Club in Columbus (1986), Canterbury Golf Club in Cleveland (1996) and NCR Club in Dayton (2005).

"I absolutely was confident if Inverness wanted to do it, they could host another major championship. No question," Silverman said.

Contact Ryan Autullo at:

rautullo@theblade.com.



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