More than 150 top amateur and professional golfers from the metropolitan area will compete for the coveted regional title on one of America’s highly-rated courses. The Met Open will be a major highlight of Sleepy Hollow Country Club’s centennial year celebration. The club was founded in 1911 by some of the nation’s most prominent business leaders at the pinnacle of America’s “Gilded Age” including members of the Vanderbilt and Rockefeller families.
One of the first decisions the founders made was to engage Charles Blair Macdonald, considered the father of American golf course architecture, to design the club’s golf course. He was assisted by his engineer, Seth Raynor. Later, another giant of golf course design, A.W. Tillinghast, was brought in during the 1920s to increase the course to 27 holes and, more recently, Sleepy Hollow Country Club completed a comprehensive restoration bringing back the original designs and concepts of Macdonald. The result is a wonderful classic yet fully up-to-date course.
John Cooney, Jr., President of the Sleepy Hollow Country Club, said: “We are honored to have been selected to host the Met Open during our club’s centennial year. Competing golfers will enjoy our unique and challenging course that is in keeping with the Met Open standards and tradition.”
Many players and visitors at the Met Open will have the opportunity to see and appreciate the original grandeur and style of Sleepy Hollow Country Club. The leading architects of the day, McKim, Mead and White, designed the Woodlea mansion, built in 1895, which is the clubhouse as well as the classic European-style stable.
Sleepy Hollow’s golf course is world renowned for its 16th hole, with its dramatic tees, green and unparalleled view of the Hudson Valley and is recognized by Golf Week in its Top 100 Classic rankings.
Over the decades, Sleepy Hollow Country Club has hosted numerous golf tournaments including the Met Amateur Championships in 1944, 1965 and 1983; the Metropolitan Golf Association’
From its inception in 1905 through 1940, the Met Open was considered one of the most prestigious events in golf, won by the likes of Gene Sarazen, Johnny Farrell, Tommy Armour, Paul Runyan, Byron Nelson and Craig Wood as well as the brother, Alex and Macdonald Smith (who together captured seven Met Opens with Alex winning a record four times).
After an eight-year hiatus overlapping World War II, the Met Open became a regional tournament championship, won by many of the top local club professionals, among them Claude Harmon, Jimmy Wright, Jim Albus, David Glenz and Darrell Kestner as well as such storied amateurs as Chet Sanok, Jerry Courville Sr., George Zahringer III, Jim McGovern, Johnson Wagner and Andrew Svoboda. Wagner, who won the Met Open as an amateur in 2001, won the title again in 2002 for his first victory as a professional.
Among the top golfers who will compete in this year’s Met Open are Bob Rittberger, 2010 Met Open champion; Andrew Giuliani, 2009 Met Open champion; Kevin Foley, 2011 New Jersey State Open champion; Rob Labritz, 2011 New York State Open champion and Frank Bensel, 2011 Connecticut Open champion..
Mr. Cooney stated: “The strong fields and world-class venues that characterize the Met Open have made it one of the nation’s most sought-after regional titles. Sleepy Hollow County Club is proud to join the Met Open’s distinguished list of host sites.”