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Why Billy Gaffney savors playing the Porter Cup

The Gaffney name holds a place of prominence on the local golf scene, which can add to the expectations and pressures of those living under the family umbrella.

John Gaffney reigned as one of the area's premier players for a number of years, winning the New York State Amateur, Buffalo District Golf Association titles and making Porter Cup appearances. His son, Billy, wanted to add to the family legacy in the worst way, particularly by earning a spot in the Porter Cup. Until this year, that goal proved confounding and elusive.

"There was a lot of pressure, just because I knew I had the potential to play well," Billy said Wednesday after shooting an 2-over 72 in the opening round of the Porter Cup at Niagara Falls Country Club ."It’s just so hard to qualify because on that given day you have to shoot your number. Basically I stopped letting him caddie for me because I could almost feel the pressure - even though he wasn’t trying to put pressure on me - I could almost feel the pressure of having my dad on the bag."

Billy overcame the oppressive disappointment in a big way, shooting a 4-under 66 in the late-June qualifier. John's response?

"I think he just said, 'Awesome,' Billy said. "He texted me. I almost think he didn’t have really words to explain how happy he was. He’s really wanted me to break through and he knew I could break through, (but) you can’t just take someone and make them break through. They have to do it on their own. I think finally seeing me break through and shoot a good score at the time I needed to shoot it, I think he was more than happy."

John wasn't in attendance Wednesday. He was with one of daughters, Amanda, at a New York State girls golf event.

"He’ll be here tomorrow," Billy said. "But he’s definitely not caddying."

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