ENDICOTT, NY – Beautiful weather shined down on En-Joie Golf Course today on what should have been the first round of competition for the 2020 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.
But, with the pandemic forcing cancellation of the tournament, the 18th green was hosting amateur foursomes instead of thousands of fans waiting for the Friday evening concert.
No tents, bleachers, large stage or 600 square foot jumbotron.
And none of the 81 elite senior professional golfers that compete in the event each year.
Tournament Director John Karedes says the open is a major contributor to the overall quality of life in Greater Binghamton.
“It’s not just a golf tournament. There’s big time economic impact from it, as well as charitable impact. The social aspect of it and all of the ancillary events, they’re very important to our lifestyle here in Broome County,” says Karedes.
Karedes says studies determined that the open contributes 16 miilion dollars to the local economy through hotels, restaurants and other spending associated with players and fans.
And local charities are taking a big hit too.
Since its start over 14 years ago, the Dick’s Open has contributed over 9 million dollars to the UHS and Lourdes Foundations and various civic groups who provide volunteers to run the event.
“It’s the Endicott Rotary who’s going to go and give food baskets over the holiday. Or, the Vestal Elks who send care packages to overseas troops. It’s organizations like that that are taking that money and putting it back into our community. Hence, why I believe there’s going to be a ripple effect as the year goes on and holidays get closer, these organizations are going to be hurting. So, we’re trying to help them as best we can,” says Karedes.
That includes a barbeque fundraiser that the tournament is hosting at En-Joie next week to benefit those groups.
Karedes says the open has already been assured a stop on next year’s PGA Champions Tour.
Meanwhile, he did end up spending the day at the course, playing a round rather than running the tournament.