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Changes made to upcoming Liberty Cup

College players getting benched this year

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Hallie Johnson

TROPHY — Last year's Wildcat Creek participant Hallie Johnson polishes the Liberty Cup.

The 12th Liberty Cup is set for Friday, Sept. 13, at 1 p.m. at the American Legion.

The most prestigious golf tournament of the year, created and sponsored by Craig Dunn and Liberty Financial Group, has seen changes over the years.

Originally, teams from each golf course in Howard County (except Green Acres) featured players with handicaps, no handicaps, and women with handicaps. After a few years, handicaps were dropped completely, and all players play with no handicaps. This provided a truer picture of which course had the best players.

Then, a new wrinkle appeared. Indiana University Kokomo introduced women's and men's golf, and those players found their way to Liberty Cup teams. Though it was a joy to watch play these young women and men, it seemed to unbalance the field. So this year, we're making another change: players playing on college teams, women or men, are not eligible to play in the Liberty Cup.

The "no high school players" rule also will continue to the disappointment of the Country Club's Cary Hungate, who would love to have Kiah Parrot tee it up for KCC.

This should make the teams more representative of actual club members, which brings up another question I am asked a lot. KCC is the only private club, so how do the other courses get to choose their players? I rely on the PGA Pro and the management of each course to use good judgment. Is the player's handicap established at that course? Do they play regularly? Take part in club events/tourneys? Or buy a "membership" package from the course? To date, I've not felt like anybody has abused adding "non-members" to their teams.

The scoring system will be the same, using the stableford point system. Each team will consist of 15 men and five women. On each hole, the top 12 men's scores and the top three women's will be combined to make the score for each hole.

Wildcat Creek has won two in a row and five total Liberty Cups, the Country Club is a four-time winner, with Chippendale and the American Legion each with one victory. It should be noted the Legion's win came on their home course!

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll sniff around and find out what each course is up to. The rumor mill is already grinding with the return of Howard County Hall-of-Famer Tim Miller. I know he's been playing at Chippendale because I was playing with him when he shot a 4-under 69 and kept commenting on how he wasn't playing well! Miller is a joy to watch play, and I've heard he may have rejoined the country club.

Next week maybe we'll get an answer on who gets Mr. Miller, and I'll check on how the women's teams will shape up without the college players.

Until next week… keep it in bounds.