There's one name synonymous with golf in Ohio – Jack Nicklaus – and he's certainly a prominent figure at the U.S. Senior Open, set to take place at Scioto Country Club in Upper Arlington this week, but four other Buckeye golfers will actually be teeing it up as part of the major championship field.
Former Ohio State stars Brian Mogg, John Cook, Rod Spittle and Joey Sindelar are all part of the field, with Cook, Spittle and Sindelar set to play at least the first two rounds together. While at Ohio State, Cook and Sindelar were teammates on the 1979 NCAA champion Ohio State squad, while Spittle played from 1976-78 and Mogg was a second team All-American in 1983.
Now back competing in Columbus, the four golfers have to balance a return to their college stomping grounds with getting ready to compete at a high level. For Cook, that includes juggling family obligations – his parents live near Columbus while his nephew, Justin, is a member of the Ohio State football team – with practice on the course to get his game in shape.
"My mom and dad are here," Cook said Wednesday. "It's their 60th wedding anniversary today so we have a party to go to this evening. And then I haven't played golf in two months or so, competed. So I'm trying to see if my game can travel onto the golf course. So I've been busy this week."
While it's rare for any of them to play golf competitively in the Columbus area these days, each of the formers Buckeyes said they still make it back for visits once in a while. One recurring theme among all four golfers was making sure to take a visit to Ohio Stadium when in town.
"I usually come back once or twice a year," Mogg said. "We've got a lot of good friends here. Over the last 10 years, I've brought each of my kids to a football game. So you kind of try to make a good excuse to come back to Columbus, usually on a home (football) weekend."
Competitive play is set to start Thursday morning, and Mogg is scheduled to be the first player to tee off.
"An honor, I guess," Mogg said of going off first in Columbus. I don't know how it happened, but ready for it."
Mogg, who is grouped with Jeff Gallagher and Geoffrey Sisk, is set to tee off at 7:30 a.m. while the group featuring Cook, Spittle and Sindelar is set for a 1:31 p.m. tee time.