It’s part of his position as the Century Club’s director of Farmer’s Insurance Open golf tournament, scheduled for Jan. 21-27 at Torrey Pines Golf Course.
“I thank those who played with us, talk to some who haven’t and others who have missed the tourney in a couple years,” he said. “As the old saying goes, potential may mean we haven’t done it yet. That’s something we’re working toward.”
In this case, potential might mean being one of the top five events on the tour — a surprising statement since the tourney has topped golf’s television ratings 15 of the last 20 years and the Century Club turned over $2 million to charities last year.
The goal is to do even better.
At home, Ripa meets regularly with a four-man Century Club executive board to review details and possible adjustments. The club lists 70 of San Diego’s movers and shakers as its members.
This is Ripa’s second year at the helm, having succeeded Tom Wilson, who served as director for 20 years.
Ripa came from Fort Worth’s Colonial where he was director of the Crowne Plaza Invitational and held a leadership position in American Junior Golf.
Founded in 1961, the Century Club of San Diego is a nonprofit volunteer organization that has generated more than $20 million for worthwhile community causes and school programs through the golf tournament.
“We expect all the big names to be here,” Ripa said of the next tournament. “There are six-plus reasons Tiger Woods would be here. He’s picked up $6 million in winning six of our tournaments.
“We’re one of 19 tourneys on tour to have both Woods and Phil Mickelson,” he said.
The Farmers Insurance Open holds the same spot on the calendar as last year, following two tourneys in Hawaii and the Humana Challenge (formerly the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic) in Palm Springs.
Middle school studies
Birch Aquarium along with its sister aquarium, Taiwan’s National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, have been awarded $65,000 in the highly competitive Museums Connect grant toward the challenge of saving marine ecosystems.
The cultural exchange program, awarded by the American Association of Museums and the U.S. Department of State, will connect 30 middle school students from San Diego and Pingtung, Taiwan, with coral scientists, community stake holders and aquarium staff in both cities.
The goal is to inspire interest in coral reef science and develop conservation skills.
Triathlon experts here
The USA Triathlon Art and Science Coaching Symposium will feature a lineup of international and national experts at the La Jolla Hyatt Regency, Oct. 25-27.
Two presentation tracks will be available. Topics will include sports nutrition, run mechanics and yoga.
The triathlon originated in 1974 at Mission Bay.
Parks car for college
I recently received an email from young race driver and La Jolla High graduate Eric Gunderson, about whom I had written last year.
He tells us he picked up a pair of important victories at Roseville and Stockton in August, but he’ll have to park his Legend race car.
“I’ve entered the University of Colorado to study engineering,” he said. “I will be focusing my efforts on school with the same intensity I bring to my racing program. But I know I will be returning to racing at some time in the future.”