That will be true for Albertson again this week, when he helps oversee the Burgett H. Mooney Jr. Rome Classic, which begins on Monday and will feature some of most skilled youth players from around the nation — and beyond.
The tournament, which will take place in Rome for the 17th year, affords Albertson the opportunity to interact with some rising stars, many of whom go on to star in college and at the higher levels.
The Rome News-Tribune recently caught up with Albertson to discuss the Classic. Here’s what he had to say:
RN-T: The Classic always features some of the best young players in the nation. How nice is it to host a event that has such a talented field each year?
ALBERTSON: It’s always a treat to host these players, and they are the best (junior golfers) in the world.
Every week when you watch the PGA or LPGA tour event you can see names that have not just won here, but have played here that didn’t win.
Famous Tour professionals that have come from this event, so it is exciting. … Most of (the participants) are going to go play college golf somewhere, and after that you can count on a big percentage of them pursuing a professional career. They’re that good.
RN-T: We know that you have a very active role in the AJGA throughout the year. With that in mind, how much pride do you take in helping host this tournament?
ALBERTSON: It’s enormous. We just try to put our best foot forward, not only for Coosa Country Club, but for the entire Rome community, and make all these junior golfers and their families feel welcome and have a great experience that they will remember forever.
It’s a big part of the growing game. The best part about it for the Rome community is that every year we have local participation.
We have five local players every year that automatically qualify plus any others that have qualified through their own means throughout the year based on their play.
It gives a lot of local players their chance to not only showcase their skills at the highest level to potential coaches, but it also gives them a chance to compete at the highest level. In previous years, we have had some players contending for the championship, so its always exciting.
RN-T: What does it say about the talent level in the local area that many of the Greater Rome representatives are able to hold their own in this event?
ALBERTSON: I think Rome is a tremendous base for Junior Golf talent. Not only in Georgia but in the Southeast throughout the years. A lot of players have went on to play collegiately. We have had many top five finishes from our local players in the past, which is saying a lot for the local area.
The tournament serves as the primary fundraiser for the Rome Junior Golf Association and we have the Rome Junior Golf Tour that we operate here and all the local golf courses are involved in that.
They all host one Rome Junior event each week, and that is a good starting point and a good foundation. It teaches these juniors not only how to play golf, but just important life skills that are going to help them regardless if they go on to play college or professional. It teaches them lessons that will help them through life.
RN-T: The tournament brings in so many out-of-town guests, and it seems like they always come away with positive things to say about the event, the golf course and the Rome area as a whole. What do you think are some of the main things that make this experience enjoyable for those who visit?
ALBERTSON: I think it just boils down to southern hospitality. Coosa Country Club and the members at Coosa Country Club and the staff at the club and the volunteers that donate hours and hours of their time and dollars to put on this event.
It is noticed by the players and their families, they really do, you can see parents of the juniors come up and they are all so thankful to get to play at such a nice venue and to also see and feel like they are appreciated and that they are welcome.
The players always appreciate the opportunity.
Editor’s Note: This story is the first of a three-part series that will feature question-and-answer sessions with three individuals who are associated with the event.