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Director closes Colorado Open

Randy Wyrick and Chris Freud/Vail Daily
Kenny Coakley of Lakewood puts at the 18th hole on the first day of the 2002 Colorado Open.
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EDWARDS – The Colorado Open has been closed.

Jack Doak, who owns and directs the event, pulled the plug on the annual golf tournament at about 5:15 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, just hours before play was to begin. Players cited a lack of sponsorship money.

The tournament did not have a title sponsor again this year.

Sonnenalp officials, who host the tournament but are not the sponsors, said they were completely taken by surprise by Doak’s decision.

“I had no idea the tournament was in trouble,” said Sonnenalp owner and manager Johannes Faessler. “We did not know this was coming.”

The pro-am event was scheduled to begin this morning, and the tournament itself was scheduled to start Thursday morning. As it now stands, the Sonnenalp Golf Course will be open for business as usual, without the tournament.

Faessler explained that the Sonnenalp is the host location. It does not own or operate the event – Doak does.

“It is their decision, not the Sonnenalp’s,” Faessler said.

At press time, Doak had not returned phone calls placed to his office, his home, his cell phone or his hotel room. The tournament’s Web site was down last night.

No one seemed to know where Doak was Tuesday night.

“At 3:30 p.m. when we were in Denver, we had talked to him and everything seemed fine,” said Warren Wilson, the Director of Rules and Competition for the Colorado Golf Association. “As I was approaching Vail at around 5 p.m. I got a call that said the tournament was cancelled.”

Wilson said the Colorado Golf Association oversees only the tournament play, and has nothing to do with any of the entry fees or sponsorship money. He said Doak set up a separate corporation to handle all that.

The entry fee is $295, 156 players were signed up, and at least three minor sponsors were on board, sources at the Sonnenalp said Tuesday.

“I have no idea where the money is,” Wilson said.

George Kahrhoff, Sonnenalp head golf pro, said none of the players blamed the Sonnenalp, and were impressed with the condition of the course.

“They all said that people with the club shouldn’t feel bad, that it’s not our fault,” Karhoff said. “Their biggest question was “Where’s our entry fee.'”

In the Colorado Open’s 39-year history, it has never been cancelled, said Wilson.

“This is the first time anything like this has happened,” Wilson said. “We’ve had some occasions when it gets close, but we’ve never had one cancelled.”


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