By Kurt Kragthorpe
Devin Dehlin had a lot of people to thank on that Monday morning in August, as he addressed a Media Day breakfast to launch the 2020 Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open at Riverside Country Club in Provo.
The tournament’s title is a good clue about where Dehlin, the Utah Section PGA’s executive director, was going with his story. If the reasons the Utah Open stayed on the 2020 calendar could be boiled down to one factor, Dehlin said, it would have to be Ned Siegfried’s insistence.
That’s how Siegfried became the 2020 winner of the Wesley Ruff Golf Citizen Award, renamed this year to honor Ruff, the ABC4 sportscaster, honorary Utah PGA member and a multiple winner of the award.
As a partner of the title sponsor law firm, Siegfried believes in the Utah Section PGA and in the mission of the Utah Open – to provide a high-level playing opportunity for Section members and to make a community impact. So in the spring, when organizers started talking about the 2020 Utah Open amid COVID-19 concerns, Riverside administrators and other sponsors were understandably skittish.
During one meeting, Siegfried said, he had “a sinking feeling, a pit in my stomach, that the Utah Open would go by the wayside.”
No, that would not happen. It took some adjustments, such as a cutback from the usual eight pro-am events and the extensive use of an alternate site, Thanksgiving Point Golf Club. The purse also was reduced, due to sponsorship issues on levels below Siegfried & Jensen’s commitment.
It all came together, though, in the Utah Open’s usual first-class presentation. The tournament became a showcase for rookie pro Peter Kuest, the former BYU All-American, and for Section members such as Craig Hocknull and Riverside Teaching Pro Matt Baird, who chased Kuest.
It all stems from Siegfried’s devotion to the game in Utah. “Golf’s always been a big part of my life,” he said. “I love the people. You just develop a bond with the PGA pros.”