Minor League Sports

Greater Cedar Rapids Open honors Bob Brooks, Sam Farner

Championship trophy for annual golf tournament will carry their names

The late Bob Brooks, along with Sam Farner, will have their names on the Greater Cedar Rapids Open championship trophy starting this year. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
The late Bob Brooks, along with Sam Farner, will have their names on the Greater Cedar Rapids Open championship trophy starting this year. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The TrueNorth Greater Cedar Rapids Open announced Monday it will name its championship trophy after two late friends.

The GCRO will honor former longtime sportscaster and board member Bob Brooks and William “Sam” Farner, another highly-regarded local individual who championed the mission of the tournament.

The new trophy, to be unveiled at the tournament’s 20th anniversary celebration next month, will be called the Bob Brooks-Sam Farner TrueNorth Greater Cedar Rapids Open Memorial Trophy.

Brooks was the voice of the GCRO since its inception and rarely missed a championship ceremony. His signature line about GCRO competitors was “These guys can play, too!”

A 10-time Iowa Sportscaster of the Year who died in 2016, Brooks brought many ideas to the tournament committee throughout his tenure on the board and his support of the GCRO was second to none.

Farner, another staunch supporter of the tournament in its infancy, was integral in pulling together the competitors of a University of Iowa-Iowa State 9-hole GCRO shootout in 2001. That year, Farner helped secure the commitments of Iowa State’s Johnny Orr and Fred Hoiberg and Iowa’s Tom Davis and Brad Lohaus in a match many still remember.

Farner died in 2008.

“In different but critically important ways, Sam Farner and Bob Brooks supported and encouraged our GCRO committee throughout the event’s history,” GCRO tournament director and co-founder Jim McPartland said in a release. “Having a captain of business like Sam and a legend in sportscasting like Bob in our corner gave the GCRO credibility with donors and the golf and local community before we deserved it.”

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The GCRO, established in 1999, provides a showcase for aspiring professional golfers while also benefiting area nonprofit organizations. To date, the tournament has given back more than $178,000 to many organizations, including The Boys & Girls Club of Cedar Rapids, Camp Courageous, The Salvation Army, The University of Iowa Foundation to benefit the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center and, most recently, the Iowa PGA Foundation’s “Swings with Kids” program and the GIVE Foundation (Golf For Injured Veterans Everywhere).

Last year, the GCRO gave a record $20,000 in charitable donations back to the community.

The 54-hole tournament is held at Hunters Ridge Golf Course in Marion. More than 100 professional golfers will compete for the record $30,000 first-place prize money from July 24-28 this summer.

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