The late, great Bobby Jones said: "There's golf and there's tournament golf, and neither one resembles the other."
In Sacramento, there's the California State Fair men's and women's amateur golf championships, and neither one resembles the other.
And that's too bad.
The men's event had a field of 156 over Labor Day weekend at Haggin Oaks. It was dominated by some of the best college players in the nation, but it also featured a sprinkling of the best area high schoolers and older players determined to give the college kids a run for their money.
It was three days with a cut and had the feel of a big-time event.
The women's tournament the championship flight, at least had 36 players at Bartley Cavanaugh. It had one player under 18 16-year-old winner Casie Cathrea, who was essentially grandfathered in and a potpourri of college and older players.
It was piggybacked with five handicap flights (three open and two senior) that featured 55 other players.
It was a two-day event with no cut and decidedly less prestige and energy.
Why the disparity?
There is tradition to consider. The men's renewal was the 88th and is the most coveted local title, while the first women's championship wasn't until 1995.
But it's more about philosophy. Three years ago, tournament director Barbara Conerly opted to exclude players under age 18. Not because they weren't good enough quite the contrary, she said but because the older women in the field "don't want to play on the same course on the same day with children."
Conerly said she was faced with appeasing the older women, many in the handicap flights, or lose their participation. The women didn't like "the baggage" the younger players brought, Conerly said, which included pushy parents, know-it-all coaches and caddies, and slow play.
Plus, the junior girls have four separate Sacramento Golf Council events and are allowed entry into the city and county women's championships.
"The women were feeling more and more left out," Conerly said.
While numbers in the championship flight have declined since the change, the handicap flights have grown as a result.
"How do you satisfy everybody?" Conerly said.
An independent women's handicap event would be a start. The men have one. Different course, different director.
Then reopen the State Fair women's championship to all-comers. How could a local tournament with Paige Lee, Kelsey Ulep, Camille Wagg and Virgie Velazquez, among the best high school-aged players in the area, be worse for their participation?
Make it a three-day event with a cut. Keep the current handicap maximum of 4.1. Get the best players from UC Davis and Sacramento State interested again.
Make it a championship that the best females anywhere of any age find worth winning.
Finishing Fair touches
Jeff Hoffman not only won the State Fair Masters on Monday at Bing Maloney with a dramatic back-nine rally, then a birdie putt on the second playoff hole, he did so with daughter Emilee on the bag. Emilee finished second in the State Fair Junior girls 12-14 division last week.
El Dorado Hills' Mike Davis, 72, shot a final-round 67 at Mather to win the State Fair Super Seniors.