By Chuck Garbedian Special to Published Jul 20, 2009 at 12:36 AM

Maybe it was something in the air. After all, for most of the week, the weather had been more fall-like, more like the British Open than what would normally pass for mid-July in Wisconsin.

The British Open is 138 years old. On the flip side, Milwaukee has hosted a professional golf event for 42 years. There is history in both, respectively, but overall, the British Open beats the U.S. Bank Championship hands down.

So, when the British Open has a multiple-hole playoff, then by balata, so will the U.S. Bank Championship have a multiple-hole playoff.

And, it will be won by a man who has 229-career starts without a victory on the PGA Tour. It will be won by a man who doubted himself as someone who can close the deal. It will be won by a man who will cry, yes cry, at the award ceremony on the 18th green when he recounted all the tough times he'd been through just to get to this moment.

The 42nd annual professional event in Milwaukee, this one called the U.S. Bank Championship, was won by Bo Van Pelt and the fans of golf in Milwaukee who came out to witness the birth of a champion couldn't be luckier in having BVP as their winner. He is one of them.

Bo Van Pelt, 34, is a hardworking son-of-a-gun who buried a three-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole of sudden death to defeat John Mallinger and claim the title at the final U.S. Bank Championship.

When and what Van Pelt has to come back to defend is still up for debate, discussion and a healthy dose of check writing. 2010 sounds like it's a ways off, but it will be here before you know it and for the supporters, fans and management of professional golf in Milwaukee the clock is ticking...loudly.

On, Wisconsin! He's not even on the property, shoot, he's not even in the country and Steve Stricker made news in Milwaukee. Based on his 52nd-place tie at the British Open, Stricker moved into the lead of the FedEx Cup points race by eight over Tiger Woods.

Closer to home, Jerry Kelly gave the home crowd something to cheer about and for as he finished third just one shot out of the playoff with Van Pelt and Mallinger, the final stroke coming on a birdie putt on the 18th green in front of a very vocal packed house.

Skip Kendall finished tied for 18th at minus-8, while Mark Wilson tied for 31st at minus-6.

Name game: The wonderful thing about the events that have been held in the Milwaukee area is the impressive list of names attached to them.

Take for example the first year, 1968, when Dave Stockton, one of the greatest putters of all time, won at the North Shore Country Club and took home $40,000 from a $200,000 purse.

Or, how about 1970, when future PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman won at North Shore.

Fast forward to 1978 and 1979, when Lee Elder and Calvin Peete won, respectively at Tuckaway Country Club.

Champions Tour moneymaker Jay Haas took home the title in 1981 at Tuckaway. Mark O'Meara, Tiger's pal, was on hand at Tuckaway to claim the 1984 title. The future Ryder Cup Captain and US Open winner Corey Pavin won in 1986 at Tuckaway.

Greg Norman finished first in 1989 at Tuckaway.

When you start to look at the winning names, along with the names in the field for any given year, you recognize them and realize that the wonderful thing about professional golf in Milwaukee is that the players who are in those events are players who truly want to be here and enjoy the city, the event and the atmosphere.

Bo Van Pelt is a wonderful addition to the list of winning names in Milwaukee. Regardless of what the next professional men's golf event is called in Wisconsin, BVP, a strapping 6-foot-4 inch professional, is just the player that fans from around these parts can identify with and one that they want to see come back to their city a year from now to defend his title.



Chuck Garbedian Special to
Chuck has more than a decade of experience in many aspects of the golf industry -- from sales to teaching to hosting radio talk shows. He has been media chairman for the Greater Milwaukee Open since 1992, has served as women's golf coach at Wisconsin Lutheran College and is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America. He currently does work for PGA TOUR Network on SIRIUS XM Radio.