Sunday, October 29, 2006

Notebook: Rolex Junior All-Americans

Several young Texas golfers earned berths on the Rolex Junior All-America golf teams, recently announced by the American Junior Golf Association:

  • Boys First Team: Conrad Shindler, Coppell
  • Boys Second Team: Cody Gribble, Dallas; Josh Jones, The Colony
  • Boys Honorable Mention: Will Griffin, San Antonio; Paul Haley, Dallas; Cory Whitsett, Houston
  • Girls First Team: Lisa McCloskey, Montgomery
  • Girls Honorable Mention: Lila Barton, Dallas

Congratulations to all.

Other notes from around the state:

• You don't often hear of a golf course design firm being called in to redesign a driving range, but that's what happened recently with Austin-based Bechtol Russell Design and The Golf Club at Star Ranch in Hutto.

Star Ranch's driving range ran alongside Highway 685, the area's main artery. But when big-box developers show up needing land, sometimes things have to change. So Star Ranch called in Randy Russell and Roy Bechtol to find a new location for the range, and make it fit into the property.

The new range features landscaping, rock walls, target greens, bunkers and contouring, and is located near the No. 8 green and parallel to the No. 9 fairway. That meant having to install a protective fence for safety reasons. But Star Ranch GM Ricky Heine wasn't concerned about the asthetics of the fence.

"Augusta National has one, so I don't feel so bad about having a fence here," said Heine.

And here's an article from Cybergolf that rounds up this and other recent projects from Bechtol-Russell.

• The Austin American-Statesman has a story about two former University of Texas coaches and their newfound love of golf. The coaches are Leon Black, who coached the Longhorns men's basketball team, and Dave Snyder, the onetime Horns tennis coach.

For two men who were outstanding athletes and intense competitors as coaches, Black and Snyder take a laid-back approach to golf. They shoot in the 90s, but score barely matters.

"I'm not sure what the term for it is in golf, but in tennis we call it hit and giggle," Snyder said. "We just enjoy being outside and appreciating the scenery and the camaraderie. Sometimes we keep score. Sometimes after a bad hole we just forget about it."

Saturday, October 28, 2006

PGA Tour Qualifying - First Stage

... and they're off!

This year's crew of aspiring PGA Tour pros (and a good number of past and present PGA Tour pros) began its journey through the arduous qualifying process over the past few days. The golfers hope to play their way first into the final stage Q-School tournament, and then onto the 2007 PGA Tour.

Two first-stage qualifiers were held in Texas. Here are the Texas golfers at each site who made it through to the next stage:

Lantana Golf Club
Chris Parra, Dallas, 278
Anders Hultman, Irving, 284
J.J. Wall, San Antonio, 286
Adam Rubinson, Benbrook, 287
Kelly Grunewald, Grand Prairie, 288
Jaxon Brigman, Frisco, 289
Anthony Kim, Dallas, 289
Mark Walker, Hurst, 290
Will Dodson, Dallas, 292
Full Lantana Results

Cypresswood Golf Club, Spring
Anthony Rodriguez, Spring Branch, 275
Richard Swift, Rockwall, 277
Adam Babb, Arlington, 280
Brad Weesner, Hideaway, 282
Randy Lowry, Spring, 283
David Schultz, Dallas, 282
Adam Meyer, Fort Worth, 284
Shawn Stefani, Baytown, 285
Andy Doeden, Fort Worth, 285
Bryan Novoa, San Antonio, 285
Bronson Burgoon, Montgomery, 285
Chris Borgen, The Woodlands, 286
Matt Brost, Mansfield, 286
Full Cypresswood Results

Also, Franklin Hatchett of Dallas qualified at the Dayton, Nevada, site. Six more first-stage qualifiers are scheduled this coming week.

Friday, October 27, 2006

AAGT Gets a Major Boost, New Name

Good news for amateur tournament players in DFW, Austin, San Antonio and Houston: The American Amateur Golf Tour has received a major boost and should continue to grow, offering more and better tournament opportunities to Texas golfers.

The AAGT, a national organization that operates metropolitan "tours" across the country - including ones in Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin-San Antonio and Houston - has partnered with The Golf Channel. The new name of the organization is the Golf Channel Amateur Tour.

The Golf Channel Amateur Tour will continue to operate in dozens of cities, including the three Texas cities/regions. Amateur golfers compete in flighted, single-day, stroke-play tournaments and accrue points on the Order of Merit which are used to determine season-ending prizes, as well as entry into special tournaments leading up to the national championship tournament.

Click one of the links below to learn more about the Golf Channel Amateur Tour in your part of Texas:

Austin-San Antonio
Dallas-Fort Worth
Houston

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Report: San Antonio's Brackenridge Closing For A Year

San Antonio Express-News columnist Richard Oliver was writing from the Champions Tour AT&T Classic last weekend about Ben Crenshaw, and Crenshaw's love of San Antonio's venerable and historic Brackenridge Municipal Golf Course.

Down in the column is this nugget of info: Brack is going to shut down for a year for an overhaul. Oliver writes:

Brackenridge, which turned 90 last month, is about to get a needed facelift.

In coming days, the city is expected to officially announce that the renowned expanse will be shut down for a year or more, beginning next spring, to undergo an aggressive renovation.

As part of a planned multimillion-dollar outlay championed by deputy city manager Pat DiGiovanni and councilmen Chip Haass and Art Hall, fairways will be resodded, some bunkers overhauled and a new irrigation system installed, among other improvements.

The whole column, with Crenshaw reminiscing and interesting historical tidbits about Brackenridge, is a good read. But the part about Brack being renovated is what should catch every San Antonio golfer's eye.

I eagerly await details of the project.

NTPGA/UST Fall Pro-Scratch Championship

Here's the recap of the Northern Texas PGA/UST Fall Pro-Scratch Championship:

Dallas, Texas – Coming into round two of the NTPGA / UST Fall Pro-Scratch Championship, held at Oak Cliff Country Club, the team of Michael Henderson,
assistant golf professional at Stevens Park Golf Course, and scratch amateur partner, Roger Marcincuk, sat two shots off the lead.

Henderson made birdie on the last two holes to put the team in the clubhouse with a 4-under par 32-33 – 66. Along with the 66 today, and a two day total of 67-66 – 133, the final birdie on hole #18 sent the team into a playoff with the first-round leaders, Chris Hughes, head golf professional at Eastern Hill Country Club, and amateur partner, Scott Wagoner, who shot 33-35 – 68 (2-under par) in round two.
Hughes and Wagoner also finished the tournament with a 65-68 – 133.

Henderson and Marcincuk didn’t take long to close out the Championship, they made par on the first playoff hole to claim the 2006 UST Fall Pro-Scratch Championship title.

The four-ball stroke play NTPGA major championship features 36 teams of one PGA professional teamed with one scratch amateur competing at Oak Cliff Country Club located in Dallas. This is the inaugural UST Fall Pro-Scratch Championship.

The 36 teams were competing for a share of the $8,775.00 purse. The team of Michael Henderson and Roger Marcincuk took home $1,500.00 for first place.

NTPGA Web site

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Roundup: LPGA's First Winner

I don't like posting two obituary items in a row, but the Grim Reaper waits for no one ...

So: Polly Riley, the Fort Worth amateur who won the first-ever tournament played on the LPGA Tour, recently passed away from cancer at the age of 75.

Riley won the 1950 Tampa Open, finishing five shots ahead of LPGA cofounder and Hall of Famer Louise Suggs. Riley also captained the 1962 U.S. Curtis Cup team and was a member of six of those teams. She was runner-up at the 1947 U.S. Women's Open to Betty Jameson. And at the 1948 Texas Women's Open she defeated Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the championship match by the lopsided score of 10-and-9.

Riley is a member of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame and Texas Sports Hall of Fame.

The famous author and fellow Fort Worthian, Dan Jenkins, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Riley "helped put Fort Worth golf on the map. In terms of grabbing national headlines, Polly was the next biggest thing we had going, behind Ben (Hogan) and Byron (Nelson)."

Other notes:

• TravelGolf.com has a good profile of Jim Apfelbaum, a golf junkie and journalist from Austin. Apfelbaum has hosted a golf radio show in Austin, on KVET-AM, for nine years. He runs a Web site dedicated to golf literature called The Hearthstone Review. And he recently started his own golf blog called Golf Digress (although he badly needs to adjust the width of that blog to make it easier to read).

• And more hog trouble on Texas golf courses. This time the pesky critters are tearing up the Uvalde municipal course. The course has captured three of the hogs but believes a fourth is out there still causing damage. What's the secret to luring a feral hog into a trap? The Uvalde course has been using ... raspberry Jell-O.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Passing of a Semi-Legend

I was greatly saddened by the recent news of the passing of Jimmie E. Taylor. That name probably means nothing to Texas Golf readers. But perhaps the name Red Taylor does. It's a sure bet that if you ever spent any time playing golf in Corpus Christi - in the 1940s, '50s or '60s, the 1970s, '80s or '90s - you knew, or at least knew of, Red Taylor.

Red Taylor worked in the golf business in Corpus Christi for 55 years, and all of it as an assistant pro or head pro at the same course: Oso Beach Municipal.

Red joined Oso in the late 1940s as an assistant professional. He oversaw construction of the clubhouse, with its distinctive arches, in 1967. He ascended to head professional in 1978. And he was still the head professional until very recently.

And that, frankly, amazes me. Because as a kid and young adult to who played Oso probably 500 times in the 1980s - there were only two golf course in Corpus Christi then, and today - I would have guessed that Red was around 70 years old back then.

But when he died last week, he was 79. Perhaps his war service and the thousands of hours he spent in the sun and South Texas wind over his lifetime weathered him. And he probably seemed older than he actually was because he couldn't hear anything.

I always hated getting Red on the phone when I called for a tee time, because it would mean having to repeat myself three or four times before he understood what I wanted. "Hi Red, I need to make a tee time for a foursome, walking." And Red would reply, "There's two of you and you need a cart?"

Every conversation with Red - at least for me - was like a "Who's on First?" routine.

Red was a great player, too, with a career low round of 64, and he was shooting his age just three months ago, according to his obituary.

For me, Red was a crusty ol' codger, and I'd guess he qualified as a "codger" even as a younger man. He was the sort of guy you didn't always appreciate when he was around. But I'm absolutely certain that if I ever visit Oso again, Red Taylor's absence will be a source of sorrow and wistfulness.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Flower Mound's Elliott Claims Back-to-Back Match Play Titles

The report from the Northern Texas PGA on the Cleveland Golf NTPGA Match Play Championship:

CARROLLTON, TEXAS – The final match of the Cleveland Golf Match Play Championship featured the #10 seed Jamie Elliott playing Vince Jewell the #9
seed.

Elliott, the director of instruction at Bridlewood Golf Club in Flower Mound took extra holes before he put his second consecutive Cleveland Golf Match Play Championship in the books. Elliott had a 1 up lead after hole #17 over Jewell, an assistant golf professional at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas. But after Elliott’s drive on the last hole found the fairway bunker, Jewell saw an opening and took it. Jewell placed his drive in perfect position to defeat Elliott on the last hole and extend the match. When Elliott missed a short putt for par and the title, Jewell did just that.

The match went back to hole #18, which would prove to be the final hole of the Championship. Elliott redeemed himself on the extra hole and finished with a birdie to win the final match over Jewell in 19 holes. This was not Elliott’s first major championship title at Columbian Country Club, he also won the FINA NTPGA Section Championship back in 2001.

The Cleveland Golf Match Play Championship was contested October 17-19 at the 7,018 yard par 72 Columbian Country Club located in Carrollton. The top 32 players on the final 2006 Cleveland Golf NTPGA Player of the Year Points Challenge were invited to compete in the season-ending major championship. Elliott took home $3,000.00 of the $23,000.00 purse for his victory.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Professional Team Golf League

I'll give the people behind the new Professional Team Golf League credit: they've got guts. They're trying something brand new in golf - a league of teams comprised of professional golfers who play home and away "games" against each other over the course of a season; and also something brand new in sports - allowing fans of the teams to have at least a little bit of control over the strategies employed by those teams.

I was going to do a lengthy post on the PTGL today, but I see that Golfchick and About.com have beaten me to it.

So instead, I'll point out that the PTGL's "coming out" party is a USA vs. Canada match in December, and that one of the golfers representing the U.S. is well-traveled Texas pro Anthony Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is a native and resident of San Antonio who played collegiately at Texas A&M. He's been an All-American, a member of the PGA Tour and a member of the Nationwide Tour. In 2006 he played on the Canadian Tour (as did all the pros taking part in the PTGL kickoff event). Learn more about Anthony at his PTGL profile page.

And lots more details about the PTGL can be found at www.ptgl.com.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Texas Site of Palmer's Last Stand

Augusta Pines Golf Club in Spring and the Champions Tour Administaff Small Business Classic today became the answers to a future trivia question: What was the last course and the last tournament in which Arnold Palmer played tournament golf?

Palmer, making just his second start on the Champions Tour this year, called it quits Friday, citing an inability to play well enough to make his fans happy. Palmer is 77 years old.

Palmer played through the third hole at Augusta Pines before putting two balls into the water off the No. 4 tee. That's when he told his playing partners he was withdrawing, although he played out the round without keeping score. Following the round, he announced it was the final competitive tournament appearance of his long and glorious career.

From the AP:

Palmer's eyes welled with tears as he went through interviews following the round with a large delegation of "Arnie's Army" huddled around him at Augusta Pines Golf Course.

"I made every move in the bag today to make a good shot and I wasn't very successful," Palmer said. "That's not surprising. It just didn't come today. It's been working its way into my repertoire. It's tough and it's emotional for me because it's my life."


We'll miss you, Arnie, but thanks for all the great memories.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tom Kite: 0-for-Texas

Texas golf great Tom Kite will be teeing it up this weekend at the Champions Tour Administaff Small Business Classic at Augusta Pines in Houston. The next week he'll be at the AT&T Championship at Oak Hills in San Antonio. Maybe one of these two tournaments will be the one that allows him to finally get off the 0-for-Texas schneid.

You see, Tom Kite has never won a professional tournament in Texas. He's played 103 pro events in the state, but none of his 19 PGA Tour victories or 9 Champions Tour wins have come in Texas.

This nugget is found in the Houston Chronicle's weekly golf notebook, which this week advances the Champions Tour event there.

Midland Monday Qualifiers

The Nationwide Tour's Permian Basic Classic tees off on Thursday at Midland Country Club. And the Monday qualifier was played ... um ... on Monday. Seven golfers played their way into the field, and it's nice to see that five of them are Texans:

Adam Babb, Arlington, 67
Anthony Rodriguez , San Antonio, 67
Bryan Novoa, San Antonio, 68
Brian Guetz, Scottsdale, Ariz., 69
Wynand Snyman (a), Midland, 69
Aron Price, Scottsdale, Ariz., 69
Marcus Jones, Graham, 69

Play well on Thursday guys.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

More from Hal Sutton on Ryder Cup, Boot Ranch

Honorary Texan Hal Sutton (he's actually from Louisiana, but has a ranch at Junction and is about as Texan as a person can be without actually being Texan) is talking more about the Ryder Cup and his fancy Fredericksburg development called Boot Ranch.

You might recall a post here about two weeks before the Ryder Cup: Sutton had talked to The Associated Press about the Ryder Cup and had provided a few details about Boot Ranch, too.

Now, he's done the exact same thing, only this time he spoke after the Ryder Cup and with Golf Magazine. Hal's doing a great job talking up Boot Ranch in the national press, that's for sure.

The Golf Magazine article says that Boot Ranch "has been called the Augusta of Texas." Gee, I wonder who called it that. Hmmm, Hal Sutton maybe? The article introduces Boot Ranch this way:

Boot Ranch’s course designer and co-developer, Sutton has spent four days a week here since his 12-man team of Yanks lost by a margin that Tom Lehman’s guys (surprise!) equaled two weeks ago. Boot Ranch has been called the Augusta of Texas (members get a pair of black alligator cowboy boots in lieu of a green jacket), but with slow membership and home sales it’s not all azaleas for Sutton. Still, the U.S. Ryder Cup team is in far worse shape.

And later adds:

When Sutton was a kid at Northwood Country Club in Shreveport, Louisiana, he says, the pro took time to sit and talk over a Dr. Pepper. It isn’t hard to guess the subtext of that comment, that our academy-sponsored race for the perfect swing has forsaken our childlike “joie-de-golf.” Dismayed at the game’s massive, intractable bureaucracy, Sutton seeks to reverse that trend and more, this time from the outside, from Boot Ranch.

“We’re already teaching juniors here,” he said. “We have around 15 high school kids, 10 to 12 younger than that. We’re going to do our part here. I challenge everybody else in the country to do their part, and if they already are, I applaud them."

The bulk of the article is about Sutton's thoughts regarding American problems in the Ryder Cup, and what to do to fix them. Sutton speaks about what he says as the four biggest problems for today's American Ryder Cuppers:

  • 1. They aren't aggressive enough on Ryder Cup putts because as tour pros they play nothing but super-fast greens week-in and week-out, and guys tend to lose their aggressiveness on putts when that would mean blowing one by five to 10 feet. The PGA Tour should alter greens conditions on its courses, Sutton say, to provide a variety of putting conditions.
  • 2. Every American's swing looks the same. They all grow up copying that one ideal swing. Everything is perfect, no ability to adjust to differing conditions of play.
  • 3. The American system and PGA Tour produces golfers who almost all know only one way to play: high and long. Hit the ball high, and hit it far. That doesn't work as well on European courses, and it limits the creativity of and availability of different shots to American golfers.
  • 4. We whine a lot about losing, but ultimately we only do one thing about it, and it's the same every time: blame the captain.

I don't blame Hal Sutton for 2004's debacle, and never have. Hal might have been over the top in some of his pre-play pronouncements, but all he could do - all any captain really can do - is send the guys out to play. It's up to the players to perform.

Read the full article

Friday, October 06, 2006

Remembering the Babe, and Other Stuff

babe didrikson zahariasIn 1939, Time magazine described Babe Didrikson Zaharias, a Port Arthur native who grew up in Beaumont, as a "famed woman athlete, 1932 Olympic Games track & field star, expert basketball player, golfer, javelin thrower, hurdler, high jumper, swimmer, baseball pitcher, football halfback, billiardist, tumbler, boxer, wrestler, fencer, weight lifter, adagio dancer..."

Whew! The occasion was her marriage to George Zaharias, a professional wrestler. And that reminds me of one of my all-time favorite lines about marriage. George Zaharias, at the time of his wedding to Babe, was a very fit, muscular man, handsome and buff. By about 15 years later, he'd ballooned in both weight and laziness.

The Babe said of him then: "When I married him, he was a Greek god. Now, he's just a goddamned Greek."

The quote above - the first one, describing the Babe's athletic exploits - is taken from a Guardian article remembering the great Didrikson Zaharias.

The Babe - whose team once won the Amateur Athletic Union track and field national team title even though she was the only person on the team - was being celebrated in a London newspaper because it was the 50th anniversary of her death in 1956.

I find it kind of sad that I didn't see any celebrations of Didrikson in Texas newspapers around the time of that anniversary. She was arguably the greatest female athlete of all-time, and definitely one of the greats in the history of women's golf.

The guardian article is a terrific read. Check it out.

Elsewhere:

• The American Junior Golf Association's HP Scholastic Junior All-America team was recently announced, and it includes one golfer representing Texas. Michael Whitehead of Sugar Land is on the boys' team.

Whitehead will get to attend the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet Nov. 19 at The Cloister in Sea Island, Ga. To be eligible for the HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team, boys must have placed in the top 10 of an AJGA event. The selections are then based on grade-point average, class rank, SAT/ACT scores, leadership skills, community service and writing ability. Candidates were required to submit an essay no longer than 400 words that creatively focused on the game of golf.

• The UT Golf Club in the Steiner Ranch area of Austin announced it has sold two-thirds of its memberships and is entering "Phase II." That means they're ready to start building the real clubhouse. The clubhouse will be 16,000 square feet and include indoor/outdoor dining facilities, private dining rooms, 19th Hole/Bar, Golf Shop, Men's and Women's Locker Rooms and the UT Walk of Fame.

Once the new clubhouse is finished, the facility the club is currently using as its clubhouse will be converted to a fitness center. More info on the club is available at www.utgolfclub.com.

Here's an article in the Victoria Advocate on Ben Johnson. Johnson was the boys golf coach at Victoria High for 20 years. When Victoria High and Victoria Stroman High were consolidated in 2001, Johnson took over the Victoria ISD boys program. During his tenure, Johnson's teams won 13 district titles, reached the regional tournament 20 times, and the state tournament twice.

Johnson is retiring from coaching to focus full time on his other job as Spanish teacher.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

El Paso's Eschenbrenner Headed to the Hall of Fame

Last year, Bill Eschenbrenner, PGA Master Professional at El Paso's Lone Star Country Club, was named PGA Professional of the Year.

This year, he's going one step farther. Eschenbrenner has been elected to the PGA Golf Professional Hall Of Fame in a class of seven inductees that includes Jack Nicklaus. The inductees will be honored in a ceremony, Friday, Dec. 8, in conjunction with the 10th PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit, Dec. 6-10, at the PGA Learning Center at PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

In addition to Eschenbrenner and Nicklaus, 2006 inductees include PGA of America President Roger Warren of Kiawah Island, S.C.; 1958 PGA Champion Dow Finsterwald of Colorado Springs, Colo.; 1986 PGA Teacher of the Year Manuel de la Torre of Milwaukee, Wis.; PGA Master Professional William Heald of Westchester, Ill., and 1987 PGA Teacher of the Year Gary Wiren of North Palm Beach, Fla.

The announcement was made by the PGA of America, which has this to say about Eschenbrenner:

A PGA Master Professional at Lone Star Golf Club in El Paso, Texas, Bill Eschenbrenner was the 52nd recipient of PGA Golf Professional of the Year in
2005, the highest annual honor bestowed by The PGA of America on a PGA Professional. A native of Fort Worth, Texas, but an El Paso resident since 1961,
is a former caddie at Worth Hills Municipal Golf Course in Fort Worth, Texas, and made a career path to professional golf through his association and friendship with many of the premier players in the Lone Star State, including legends Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson.

Elected to PGA membership in 1965, Eschenbrenner was the 1994 national Horton Smith Award winner for contributions to PGA education and winner of the 1984 Bill Strausbaugh Award for mentoring fellow PGA Professionals and community service. Among those guided by Eschenbrenner was the legendary Lee Trevino, who credited Eschenbrenner for helping him gain a PGA Tour berth.

Eschenbrenner served 35 years as PGA director of golf at El Paso Country Club, and five years as consultant. He developed a city-wide junior golf program in El Paso. In 1974, he founded the NCAA College All-American Golf Tournament, an event that has returned more than $600,000 in golf scholarships to participating college programs. From 1976-77, Eschenbrenner served as president of the Sun County PGA Section, was District 12 Director for the national PGA Board of Directors (1995-97), and was a past Board member of the Southwest PGA Section from 1965-74.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What Now for the Byron Nelson Classic?

I wanted to wait a few days before writing this post, so it wouldn't seem inappropriate in the wake of Byron Nelson's death. But when I heard about Nelson's passing, about the third thing that popped into my little pea-sized brain was this: I wonder if the tournament will go along with him.

Without the pull of Byron Nelson, will the Byron Nelson Classic be able to survive as one of the top destinations on the PGA Tour? Most all of the top players - even Tiger Woods - showed up annually for the Nelson. And that's not because the players love the courses the tournament is played on (they don't). It was solely because it was Mr. Nelson's tournament, and today's stars felt the need to show up out of respect for Nelson.

Sadly, Nelson is no longer with us. And if you're wondering whether the PGA Tour, officials with the sponsor EDS, and other tournament officials are a little worried about the future of the event, well, the answer is yes.

And they should be: They need only look across town to The Colonial to see what can happen to a tournament when its drawing card departs. The Colonial was always one of the top spots on Tour. The course was "Hogan's Alley," and while the tournament itself didn't belong to Ben Hogan, his presence loomed large over the event. I've seen interviews from the 1970s in which pros named Colonial as one of their favorite stops on Tour, simply because they could watch Hogan practice. And often, they didn't even watch him practice at Colonial Country Club - they drove over to Shady Oaks just to sit and watch Hogan.

In the more than 10 years since Hogan's death, the status of The Colonial on the PGA Tour has fallen dramatically. The tournament that Nicklaus, Trevino and Watson always showed up for now calls Kenny Perry a big name.

And there's a strong possibility that's the fate that awaits the Byron Nelson Classic. I don't expect Woods, Els, Singh and other top players to start skipping the event immediately. They'll want to show up in 2007 to honor Byron Nelson. But in the next few years, expect to see the Byron Nelson Classic start to fall out of the upper tier of PGA Tour events.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Another Texas Course on the Auction Block

Sure seems like there've been a lot of courses across Texas sold on the auction block lately. Now another one is up for grabs.

Shallow Creek Country Club in Gladewater can be all yours ... if the your price is right. The Piney Woods track comes attached to an RV park and 223 acres of land. It's an 18-holer measuring 6,765 yards.

The semi-private Shallow Creek was built in 1989 and has a 7,500 square foot pro shop and clubhouse that includes a grill serving "the best hamburger in East Texas," according to the sellers.

The danger in these golf course auctions is always that the purchaser is buying with the intention of razing the golf course and developing the land for other uses. The auction house, in this case, appears to be touting the course for purchase as a business investment (meaning the course would remain operative), but you never know.

If you have millions of dollars laying around and want to make a bid, click for more info.

Bi-State Pair Wins State Senior Four Ball Title

Congratulations to Garry Kirwan of McKinney and Jerry Hudgins of Houston on pairing to win the Texas Golf Association's 2006 State Senior Four Ball championship. The Ryder Cup format of Four Ball, as a reminder, is played by 2-person teams, each golfer playing his own ball, and using the one low score of the teammates on each hole.

The tournament was played on the Fazio Course at Stonebriar Country Club in Frisco. Here is the report from the TGA:

Garry Kirwan of McKinney and Jerry Hudgins of Houston went wire to wire to capture their first TGA State Senior Four Ball title. The consistent ball striking of Kirwan & Hudgins allowed them to stay out of harm's way the entire tournament and capture a 2- stroke victory over Larry Trowell and Si Harris, both of The Colony.

Kirwan & Hudgins made 19 birdies, one eagle and just one bogey on their way to victory. Harris and Trowell rallied late with a birdie on the 16th hole to close within one shot heading into the final two holes. However, Hudgins' clutch third shot into the par-5 18th hole to about five feet put the pressure solely on the team of Harris and Trowell to make birdie at the last. Both Harris and Trowell missed their birdie attempts, however, on the final hole, leaving Hudgins two putts for the victory.

Finishing in sole possession of third place was the team of Lloyd Hughes of Dallas and Mike Hopson of Lufkin who finished with a solid round of 68.

The 36-hole leaders in the Handicap division, Bob Dyer and Jimmy Dunn of Longview, completed their wire-to-wire victory by shooting a spectacular final round score of net 63, to capture their first TGA title. Leading the charge from the pack was the team of Bill Thomas and Eddie Bock of Dallas, firing a net 60 in the final round to tie Dyer and Dunn at the end of 54 holes. Dyer and Dunn ultimately take the title through a scorecard playoff. Finishing in third place was the team of Bob Romero and Scott Jordan, both of Irving.
Full field results can be found on the TXGA State Senior Four Ball tournament page.