McCarron enjoys new role as host of RTO
RENO – Scott McCarron has always been the unofficial host of the Reno-Tahoe Open, which meant that he would always throw a party for the golfers and their families.
Now, McCarron has taken over the job as the official host. When you drive into Montreux Golf & Country Club, you see a picture of McCarron hitting the ball off the tee. Under the picture it says “Scott McCarron welcomes you to the Reno-Tahoe Open.”
As you leave, you see a sign thanking you for attending featuring the same photo of McCarron.
McCarron, who splits his time between Reno and La Quinta, Calif., has embraced his new role.
“This is definitely taking it to another level,” McCarron said Wednesday afternoon. “My role probably started six months ago. I started trying to recruit players to the Reno-Tahoe Open. I’ve been trying to do my best to get guys to come here, promote the tournament and show them what we’re doing. We’re making it a little different and a little bit better.
“I’ve been working trying to help get title sponsors; working with Jana (Smoley, first-year tournament director) on some of the logistics. She’s a first-year tournament director, so she’s been calling and asking a lot of different questions about what to do.”
McCarron has already met with one potential title sponsor this week, and he has another meeting/party tonight.
Needless to say, McCarron has been running around like a crazy man.
“It’s a lack of sleep more than anything,” McCarron said. “I’ve been trying to take it easy on the golf course, not wear myself out for the other stuff I have had to do.”
McCarron said he was looking forward to getting inside the ropes, and certainly he’d like nothing better than to break a long winning drought with a victory in front of his hometown fans.
One of the new things about the Reno-Tahoe Open is the date. The tournament historically has been held in early August.
Officials from the RTO went to the PGA Tour and asked for a date earlier in the summer. The PGA agreed and put the RTO opposite of the British Open. That was great for the RTO, but the area now finds itself going up against the celebrity tournament at Stateline.
You have to wonder if there are enough golf fans in Northern Nevada to support both tournaments. It would make sense for the serious golfers to go to the RTO and the celebrity chasers to be in Lake Tahoe.
It’s probably better for the RTO going up against the celebrity tournament than going up against Hot August Nights.
Both McCarron and Rick George, who is commissioner Tom Finchem’s right-hand man said there is a need for opposite events like the RTO, The Turning Stone Resort Championship and the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
“Right now, we have playing opportunities, and we’ve got to make sure guys have an opportunity to play in tournaments,” McCarron said. “When you have a British Open that has a limited field we’ve got to do something to have an opposite event. Same with Bridgestone and same with World Match Play.”
One of the reasons for the small crowds is the lack of recognizable names to the casual golf fans.
The tour’s best players are always playing elsewhere, and unfortunately that will continue to happen until Reno gets a stand-alone date.
As long as the RTO is an opposite event it will be difficult to attract players like Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Tim Clark and Robert Allenby to name a few.
George is pleased with what he sees in Reno, however.
“The date here isn’t going to change. This is a great golf course. We just have to find a title sponsor.”
George said the area could prosper if it had its own date. However, even if the RTO does get a title sponsor, the PGA would have to have an open week to offer. Given the weather in Northern Nevada, the ideal dates would be in June, July, August and September.
One of the keys to the future success of the RTO will be the performances of other players. McCarron needs to get more guys like Stuart Appleby, golfers that fans recognize, to come here.
Also, he will need to keep his fingers crossed and hope guys like Rollins and Appleby don’t qualify for the British.
McCarron said the RTO is on the upswing. Maybe, maybe not. Only time will tell. No doubt there are plenty of people who are surprised that it’s lasted this long.
I may be one of the few who isn’t surprised. The Reno-Tahoe is a destination place, and Montreux is a great course, albeit it a bit hilly for the spectators.