Concession Cup showcases amateur golf starting Thursday

jdill@bradenton.comApril 30, 2014 

EAST MANATEE -- The Concession Golf Club was born 45 years ago when Jack Nicklaus conceded a short putt to Tony Jacklin that produced the first-ever tie in Ryder Cup history.

That moment became the idea for Jacklin's brainchild, with help from the Golden Bear, in creating the East Manatee private golf club.

"This is actually a second concession," said Jacklin, who resides in Manatee County. "When we decided to do this, when I had the idea, and approached Jack with the development to do it originally, I was actually happy to take a back seat. He's done 200 or more golf courses around the world, so there's not much he doesn't know about golf course design. But immediately, I said that. He said, 'No, no. If we're going to do it, we're going to do it together.' So that's the second concession."

Now the club is holding the inaugural Concession Cup, a Walker Cup-styled event with the top mid-amateurs, seniors and super seniors from America and Great Britain & Ireland set to compete beginning Thursday.

At the club Tuesday, Nicklaus and Jacklin -- who will represent the two sides as honorary captains -- were joined by playing captains Vinny Giles (United States) and Garth McGimpsey (GB&I) to discuss the inaugural tournament.

Both Giles and McGimpsey enter the competition with tons of experience at

high-level amateur golf competitions.

Giles is a former U.S. Amateur, British Amateur and U.S. Senior Amateur champion with five appearances (one as a captain) in the Walker Cup.

"Other than some chemistry, if Tony's guys play well and Jack's guys don't, Tony's guys are going to win and vice-versa," Giles said.

McGimpsey won the British Amateur in 1985 and played in three Walker Cups, while captaining two other times.

"I am really thrilled to be the captain of the team," McGimpsey said."

Tuesday marked the official kickoff to the event, which starts Thursday with foursome (alternate shot) matches. The teams will duke it out in the four-ball (best ball) format Friday, before singles action concludes the inaugural edition Saturday.

The public is welcome to attend free of charge, and the tournament has several charities (the First Tee Tampa Bay and Sarasota/Manatee, Orphan's Heart Foundation and the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation) tied into the amateur competition.

"I think this event has all the ingredients to be something special," said Bradenton resident Paul Azinger, who was the last winning American Ryder Cup winning captain and this week's honorary chairman. "When you have two iconic honorary captains like Jack and Tony, that's huge. … I think this is going to be a great competition, and I'm really looking forward to it."

Following introductory remarks by all, Nicklaus recalled how integral his time in amateur golf was to his standout career.

"I owe a great deal to amateur golf and to the game that allowed me to propel me into my professional career and the life I chose to lead," Nicklaus said.

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