Blog 90, 1/17/11 - Brian Kruhlak, Mark Wilson, Lake Padden WGT

After 19 years at Avalon Golf Links in Burlington, Brian Kruhlak is coming back to Sudden Valley where he first learned the game as a 15-year-old. The Alberta-born PGA member who graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1988, will take over from Jeff McMahon beginning February 1st.
Kruhlak began his professional career under Ron Hass at Sudden Valley before moving to Avalon, where he worked for head pro Greg Paul, in 1991. He became the head professional the following year and helped build Avalon into one of the most popular golf facilities north of Seattle.
A resident of Sudden Valley for over 20 years, Kruhlak was approached in December by Sudden Valley Community Association (SVCA) General Manager Dave Wareing whose shortlist of candidates was
"We considered three top-quality PGA Pros," says Wareing. "Brian was on top of the list, although we would have been happy with any of the three. Once I interviewed Brian, I knew he had the experience, professional presence and vision to lead Sudden Valley's golf program into the future."
Wareing adds that he worked with an advisory group of serious golfers which he had consulted in the past on issues relating to the golf course. "I trust their judgement and they were overwhelmingly in favor of Brian," he says. "He was simply the clear choice. If all hiring decisions were this easy, management would be easy but, of course, they are not."
Kruhlak will wear many different hats at Sudden Valley. Not only will he own the merchandise concession in the pro shop, he'll also work very closely with superintendent Bryan Newman overseeing course maintenance, develop new membership and tournament programs, and seek to attract corporate tournament business. He might even find time for the odd tournament himself. "I'll play now and again," he says. "Nothing too serious, just local Western Washington chapter pro-ams. I'll leave the playing to Tyler (assistant Tyler Wong) who is one of the finest players in the area."
Kruhlak envisages a bright future for the course as he tries to take advantage of the community's influx of residents. "The population at Sudden Valley has increased fairly rapidly, certainly since I've lived here, so there has to be an opportunity to increase participation at the course."
Wareing is likewise hopeful. "We feel very good about Brian, and I believe he feels the same about this opportunity," he says. "We are excited about the future of golf in Sudden Valley."
BellinghamGolfer welcomes Brian back to Sudden Valley, and wishes him all the best in his new role.

Mark Wilson
BellinghamGolfer began the 2011 PGA Tour season with a tie for ninth at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions courtesy of Dustin Johnson. Last week at the Sony Open in Hawaii, we were fairly confident our pick, Jim Furyk, would not only chalk up our second top-ten in a row, but also be a serious contender for the title. He missed the cut, and the final day's play (36 holes because of Thursday's washout), by four shots.
The winner, of course, was Mark Wilson - a victory we didn't see coming. But then, when would you ever see a Mark Wilson victory coming? The only people who had money on the 36-year-old from Wisconsin were surely those who entered a blind sweepstakes not knowing who their 'man' would be until they picked a piece of paper out of a hat, unraveled it and discovered they had...Mark who?!?? That's grossly unfair, of course. Wilson has won three times on the PGA Tour which, compared to 99.98% of golfers on the planet, makes him brilliant.
This week's tournament is the five-round Bob Hope Classic in Palm Springs. With only one player from the top ten on last year's money list in the field (Matt Kuchar), most eyes will be on the European Tour's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship where four of the world's top five are playing (only Tiger Woods missing).
I'm going to make a pick for every PGA Tour event, however, so will spend Tuesday thinking of reasons why I wouldn't pick Kuchar.

Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal has just been appointed the next European Ryder Cup captain (about 2am PT - no, I didn't wait up to hear the news, I'm just working late). It will be a very popular choice. As John Huggan noted on CBSSports' Pond Scrum, he will be the first European captain in a while that commands respect from everyone on the European Tour. Davis Love is widely expected to be named the next US team captain, though no one quite knows when.
Update: Golf Magazine via AP says the announcement will actually be made on Thursday.

Congratulations to Fuzzy Fuchs who won the weekend's Individual Modified Mulligan Tourney at Lake Padden with a Gross 69. Keith Russell won the Net prize with a 64. The next event on the Winter Golf Tour (WGT) is the Individual Front-Middle-Back this coming Saturday (22nd). Play six holes from the black tees, six from the green and six from the gold - you decide which. Entry is green fee + $15. The updated WGT schedule can be found here.


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