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Commentary - Cooler weather leaves RTO fans with mixed feelings
by Dan Eckles - Commentary
Aug 07, 2009 | 883 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RENO — The recent unseasonably cool temperatures probably aren’t helping attendance at the 11th annual Reno-Tahoe Open. The mercury didn’t reach 70 degrees on Thursday and the winds that started to flurry after lunch didn’t make the conditions any more comfortable. Sunshine was not abundant Friday either, but the breezes were nowhere near as strong. Still, Friday’s high temperature was only 69. That’s not exactly Hot August Nights weather.

It’s unclear how much, if any, negative impact Mother Nature’s cooler side is having on ticket sales, but my guess is RTO officials would prefer 90 degrees with sunny skies as opposed to the overcast conditions that have made themselves prevalent.

My take is that Thursday’s winds made walking the course not so much fun. With overcast skies continuing into Friday, more than a few potential spectators probably got scared off just by taking Thursday into account. There was no need. Apart from being cooler than your normal early August weekend day, Friday was pretty comfortable.

That seemed to be the consensus of the golf fans who took in Friday’s second-round action.

“Yesterday (Thursday) it was windy and colder, but look at the weather. It’s fine, just overcast,” said Doug Brunson, a Reno resident and member of Montreux Golf and Country Club, the tournament’s host. “I think the RTO’s great for Reno and Montreux. People may disagree, but I think it’s a neat thing to have in Reno.”

The cooler weather obviously wasn’t a deterrent for those who did make it out to Montreux Friday.

“This is perfect. We go to Idaho in the summer,” said Reno resident Brian O’Neill, who brought his wife Marci, their two children and a family friend out to the event. “We golf, so this is great to watch. There aren’t too many professional sporting events you can take your kids to for free.”

Some golf fans make the RTO an annual event to take in. Overcast skies didn’t hold them back from watching the professional shot-making.

“As far as the weather, I’d like it warmer like normal, but not that this is bad,” said Dave Latini, a former Truckee resident, who now lives in Wyoming, but vacations in Reno every year during RTO week. “I play golf pretty much every day since I’m retired. So, I’ll come out and watch, but if the weather’s like Thursday, that might change things.”

Steve Guinn is the son of former Nevada governor Kenny Guinn. The Guinn family owns a Montreux home and Steve makes it up every August to enjoy the RTO. Residing in Las Vegas where the average temperatures soar into the triple digits during most summer days, he was not complaining about the cooler conditions.

“I come up every year to watch the golf. This is beautiful,” Guinn said.

The southern Nevada native was asked if he really liked 70 degrees better than the normal 90-plus.

“Can I go right in the middle and say about 80,” Guinn quipped. “I’ve never had to wear a sweatshirt, like today … We’re one of the families that truly enjoys this event. My mom hosts a party every year with 25-50 people. We still think it’s good for the community.”

While the cooler temperatures may have gotten some mixed reviews, tournament leader John Rollins had nothing negative to say about them. That’s because he shot a course-record tying 10-under par 62 Friday.

“It’s definitely scorable out there today … ,” Rollins said. “But just the lack of wind and the softer greens today I think is part of the reason why it was easier to play.”

Rollins likely wouldn’t change the conditions a bit for today and Sunday. RTO officials wouldn’t mind seeing the thermometer at least boast some readings in the 80s.

Dan Eckles is the Sparks Tribune’s sports editor. He can be reached via email at: deckles@
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