Thursday, November 29, 2007

Could the Texas Open Be Moving Sooner Than Expected?

The PGA Tour's Texas Open will definitely be moving within the next 4-5 years. It will move in location, from San Antonio's La Cantera Resort Course to the new TPC San Antonio courses currently under construction. And the tournament will move on the PGA Tour schedule, from its current position in the Fall Series to a more prominent date in the spring.

It's been expected that the course change would happen first, followed by the date change, with both being accomplished by 2012.

But in his column in the San Antonio Express-News recently, Richard Oliver dropped hints that at least one of those moves may come sooner than expected:

... there are increasing indications that the city's PGA Tour event, the Valero Texas Open, is in line to move out of the Fall Series and into the FedEx Cup portion of the spring schedule sooner than originally projected.

The popular theory has had the tournament, slated to relocate to its new TPC San Antonio home by 2010, making the shift on the calendar in 2012. That's when the PGA Tour's current television contracts expire, and new deals usually spur newly shuffled dates.

But several factors have stoked speculation that tour commissioner Tim Finchem is poised to reward the event by making the change sooner. Among them are the Open's remarkable ascension to the top spot in charitable giving and its durable association with Valero. Then there was the memorable final-round duel between Jesper Parnevik and Justin Leonard last month in the Open's inaugural Fall Series slot, arguably the most compelling tournament finish of any this season.

"Frankly," Finchem told Sports Illustrated last month, "I'm not sure what more you can ask from a tournament."


As Oliver pointed out, the Texas Open - despite its lackluster spot on the schedule and generally lackluster fields - has led all Tour events the past couple years in money raised for charity. The past two years the tournament has set new Tour records in that department, this year topping the $7 million mark. That's why the Tour might "reward" the tournament.

The PGA Tour needs sponsors like Valero involved, and needs to keep them happy because they do such a great job with the tournament.

On the other end of the scale, you have a tournament such as the PODS Championship, the Tampa, Fla., tournament played in March. Yesterday it was announced that PODS was withdrawing as title sponsor after the 2008 tournament. A press release from the PGA Tour included the tidbit that the PODS Championship this year raised $1.2 million for charity.

Hmmm, let's see, the Texas Open, with a lousy spot on the schedule and a weaker field, raised $7 million. The PODS Championship, with a much better place on the schedule and a stronger field, raised $1.2 million. And the PODS Championship is losing its title sponsor after 2008.

Can you see the Texas Open moving into the PODS Championship's March schedule slot in 2009? I bet Tim Finchem can see it.

Honoring Pat Summerall, Raising Money for Junior Golf

The Northern Texas PGA held its Ewing Charity Classic recently at Northwood Club in Dallas. The tournament is a fund-raiser for the NTPGA Junior Golf Foundation, and this year it also served to honor Pat Summerall (pictured), the longtime CBS broadcaster and DFW resident.

If you're anywhere around my age, from, say, 10 years younger than me to about 20 years older than me, you grew up listening to Summerall. He was probably best known to the general sporting public for his work on NFL games, where in his later years with CBS he teamed with John Madden. But I thought Summerall's best work was on golf, where his understated style was a perfect fit for The Masters and the rest of the CBS golf schedule. The team of Summerall and Ken Venturi will always be, for me, the measuring stick of other golf broadcast teams (and none of current teams comes close to measuring up ... but maybe I'm just an old codger).

The combination of supporting junior golf while honoring the very popular Summerall attracted a stellar field of pros to the pro-am, including Lanny Wadkins, Anthony Kim, Tommy Armour III, Brandt Jobe, Bruce Lietzke and Heather Young (nee Heather Bowie).

Two pros - a touring pro and a club pro - teams with three amateurs on each team. The three amateurs played one low net, while the two pros per team played a modified alternate stroke format. The amateurs' 18-hole total was combined with the pros' 18-hole total for the team's final score.

Here are the Top 3 teams (pro score listed first):

  • David Reel (a), Andy Fleck (a), Mark Hollingsworth (a), Lanny Wadkins/Gordon Johnson - 67-59--126
  • Jeff Heller (a), Jason Freeman (a), Stuart Reeves (a), Brad Ott/Cameron Doan - 69-61--130
  • Ronnie Pruitt (a), Daren Lesley (a), Greg Potter (a), Anthony Kim/Bob Elliott - 71-62--133


Full Results (.pdf file)

The tournament raised nearly $200,000 for the NTPGA Junior Golf Foundation.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

San Antonio's La Cantera Sold

The Westin La Cantera Resort, one of the top resort properties in Texas and home to the PGA Tour Texas Open, has been sold, the San Antonio Express-News reported. Gaylord Entertainment Company, which owns the Grand Ole Opry plus the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, among other properties, purchased La Cantera from a subsidiary of insurance giant USAA for around $250 million.

And Gaylord plans to add onto the property, including doubling the number of hotel rooms available - a further investment of around $250 million.

A Gaylord spokesperson said no changes are planned to the golf operation, and no additional courses are planned. Troon Golf has always managed La Cantera's two tracks (the Resort Course and the Palmer Course), and done a great job at it. No reason to think that will change.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Post-Thanksgiving Notebook

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend, and managed to work in some golf in order to work off some of that Thanksgiving gluttony. Catching up on a few items:

  • The golf course at The Club at ConCan has gotten some great reviews, and if you've been meaning to make you way out there here's a great opportunity: the Golfer's Guide Gifts for Kids Annual Christmas Golf Tournament on Saturday, Dec. 8. The tourney benefits the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and the course and resort have a special 3-day package (Dec. 7-9) available to golfers who are playing.

    That package costs $299, which includes golf on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, lodging and select dining (non-golfing guests of the golfer cost $175).

    Call 830-232-6625 or 888-926-6226 for more info or to get registered.

  • A reader lets us know that it appears as if Quail Run in La Vernia is closed again. The course shut down for a few weeks early this year, but re-opened in February. Our reader reports that he "went by last weekend and then again today ... all the new carts they bought about two months ago are nowhere to be found. Everything is locked up tight." And adds, "Sadly, the course never recovered from the first closing early in the year ... greens were in sad shape, mostly bare of any grass."

    Perhaps it's finally the end to the long, sad saga of Quail Run, a course whose setting and layout always gave it great potential, but that was always plagued by money problems and terrible condition issues.

  • The 2008 PGA Tour schedule is out. Here are the dates for the Texas tour stops next year:

    • April 3-6: Shell Houston Open
    • April 24-27: EDS Byron Nelson Championship
    • May 22-25: Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial
    • Oct. 9-12: Valero Texas Open


  • Earlier this month the Texas Golf Foundation held a "Champions for Champions" dinner to honor all the Texans who won USGA championships during the year. The USGA's South Region Director of Regional Affairs, Alli Jarrett, wrote about the dinner on the USGA blog.

    One of the things she said that bears repeating is this:

    It is amazing that currently seven USGA trophies are being held in the state of Texas:

    • U.S. Amateur Public Links – Colt Knost
    • U.S. Junior Amateur – Cory Whitsett
    • U.S. Amateur – Colt Knost
    • Walker Cup – Colt Knost and Trip Kuehne
    • USGA Senior Women’s – Anna Schultz
    • USGA Men’s State Team – Trip Kuehne, Jonathan Mathias and Terrence Miskell
    • U.S. Mid-Amateur – Trip Kuehne



    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    Country Music Star Plans Benefit Tourney

    Multi-platinum country music star Clay Walker (pictured) has a charity called Band Against MS that is "committed to providing educational information for those living with Multiple Sclerosis, funding programs researching a cure for Multiple Sclerosis, and funding programs helping those living with the disease." Walker has multiple sclerosis.

    Walker recently announced the establishment of a golf tournament to help raise funds and awareness for the fight against MS. The tournament will be called the Clay Walker Charity Classic and will take place March 16-17, 2008, at The Woodlands Country Club.

    The tournament is a pro-am, and among the pros will be 28 PGA Tour and Champions Tour players; and among the ams will be music and entertainment celebrities. The conclusion of the tournament will be followed by an awards dinner, charity auction and a private concert featuring Walker and friends.

    For more info, including how you can play the tournament, visit the Band Against MS Web site. Peter Jacobsen Sports will manage the tournament, and you can also visit www.peterjacobsensports.com for info.

    Saturday, November 17, 2007

    Austin Named Best Golf City in America

    According to Golf.com (hat tip to Waggle Room), the best golf city in America is Austin. And Dallas ain't too shabby, either, coming in at No. 4:

    10. Rochester, N.Y.
    9. Portland, Ore.
    8. Atlanta
    7. San Jose, Calif.
    6. Seattle
    5. Orlando, Fla.
    4. Dallas
    3. Las Vegas
    2. Columbus, Ohio
    1. Austin

    A couple things to know about this ranking: Golf Magazine only considered the 50 largest cities in the country; and their criteria appears to have relied heavily on a ratio of the average green fee in each city to the city's cost of living; on the number of big-time architects who've designed courses in the city; and on such things as weather and per capita number of courses.

    After the magazine ran the numbers, Austin came out No. 1 and Dallas (DFW, actually) No. 4. San Antonio checked in at No. 13, Houston at No. 27.

    Here's the blurb that appears on the Web site for Dallas:

    No. 4. Dallas, Texas
    Population: 5,950,033
    Median home price: $145,500
    Number of public courses: 107
    Median green fee: $38

    THE GOLF: Dallas is a giant for rich golf history and value play. You could explore the Ben Hogan trophy room at Fort Worth's Colonial Country Club, then check out Lord Byron's memorabilia after your round at the Four Seasons/TPC Las Colinas. Your lore tour can continue for $16, what residents pay at Tenison Park, Lee Trevino's stomping (and hustling) grounds back in the '60s.

    THE REST: There's barbecue, the 'Boys, plenty of golfable winter days — and some great runways in addition to the fairways. Says our favorite Big D resident David Feherty: "Dallas has all the sophistication of a big city and none of the attitude. And if you lose a lot of money betting college football and have to flee, it has the best airport in the country."


    And here's what they say about Austin:

    No. 1. Austin, Texas
    Population: 1,485,922
    Median home price: $176,200
    Number of public courses: 32
    Median green fee: $40

    THE GOLF: Austin, the cultural and economic pride of Texas, is a great city. No surprise there. But the Lone Star State capital is also a great golf city. The best, in fact. It has the nation's best combination of weather, name designs, and affordable, accessible golf. It's home to quality munis like Riverside, where Harvey Penick held court for 34 years; acclaimed resorts like Barton Creek, with two Tom Fazio courses at 68th and 69th on Golf Magazine's Top 100 You Can Play; and dynamite daily fee courses, including Circle C and Cimarron Hills. There are also exclusive courses, like Austin Golf Club, where Ben Crenshaw plays. While summers sizzle, the fall weather is perfect, and you can play virtually year-round.

    THE REST: With its fabled 6th Street, and nearly 100 live venues in the area, Austin is known as the "Live Music Capital of the World." And it's arguably America's 'cue capital, with dozens of mouth-watering rib joints. You can add to those a new title: "The Best Golf City in America."


    The full package is available here.

    Friday, November 16, 2007

    Another NTPGA Victory for Larsson

    Dean Larsson is a winner again of a major Northern Texas PGA tournament. Having already won the NTPGA Assistants Championship and the NTPGA Sectional Championship, Larsson capped off his season by winning the Cleveland Golf / Club Car NTPGA Match Play Championship Thursday in Dallas.

    Here is the report from the NTPGA:


    DALLAS, Texas– The final match of the Cleveland Golf / Club Car NTPGA Match Play Championship featured the #13 seed Jamie Elliott, the director of instruction at Bridlewood Golf Club in Flower Mound, playing the #3 seed Dean Larsson, an assistant golf professional at Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas.

    The final match of the championship came down to the final hole as the match was all square heading to hole #18. Both players played outstanding golf throughout the match as neither player was able to gain more than a 1 up advantage during play. Elliott had the advantage on the 18th hole as his tee shot found the fairway and second shot landed on the green. However, after missing the fairway and green on 18, Larsson was able to hole out his chip shot from 25 feet to force Elliott to make a 15 foot birdie putt to extend the match and his hopes of claiming his third consecutive Cleveland Golf / Club Car NTPGA Match Play Championship. Elliott was unable to make his birdie putt and Larsson captured his third NTPGA major championship of the year in dramatic fashion. Larsson’s birdie on hole #18 finished off an impressive back nine in which he made three birdies and an eagle en route to a bogey free 5-under par score of 30. This victory completes an extraordinary year for Larsson as he also claimed the NTPGA Assistants’ and Section Championship.

    The Cleveland Golf / Club Car NTPGA Match Play Championship is being contested November 12-14 at Northwood Club in Dallas a 6,868 yard par 71 layout. The top 32 players on the final 2007 Cleveland Golf / Club Car NTPGA Player of the Year Points Challenge were invited to compete in the season-ending major championship. Larsson took home $4,000.00 of the $34,400.00 purse for his victory.


    Finals
    Dean Larsson, Bent Tree Country Club, def. Jamie Elliott, Bridlewood Golf Club, 1-up

    Semifinals
    Elliott def. Larry Bryan, Big Spring Country Club, 6 and 5
    Larsson def. Craig Pullen, Stonebriar Country Club, 5 and 4

    Full Bracket

    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    Nationwide Tour Championship Heading to DFW

    TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney is now part of a three-course rotation of host sites for the Nationwide Tour Championship, the season-ending tournament on the Nationwide Tour schedule.

    The addition of TPC Craig Ranch as the host site in 2008 was made by the PGA Tour on Wednesday. The Salesmanship Club of Dallas, which has long been associated with the Byron Nelson Classic, will be the host organization and designated charity.

    TPC Craig Ranch joins The Houstonian in Richmond, plus Barona Creek Golf Club near San Diego, Calif., in the three-course rota. These tracks will share hosting duties for the Nationwide Tour Championship in the forseeable future.

    The 2008 Nationwide Tour Champion at TPC Craig Ranch is scheduled for Nov. 6-9 and will offer the first $1 million purse in Nationwide Tour history.

    Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    San Antonio's Brackenridge Ready for Facelift

    While the Brackenridge Tract in Austin has been getting a lot of attention lately, the Brackenridge Park Golf Course in San Antonio has quietly been moving closer to a long-awaited and much-needed renovation.

    John Colligan, the course architect in charge of the renovation, unveiled his plans on Tuesday at the golf course. A total of $4.5 million has been allocated to course work, the San Antonio Express-News reported, and the course will be closed for approximately eight months, beginning in January, while the work takes place.

    The front nine will remain as-in in terms of layout, but more bunkers will be added in the style favored by original architect A.W. Tillinghast (long, flat bunkers with steep faces).

    The back nine at Brack, however, will look much different. Reporter Richard Oliver wrote:

    The back nine, however, will be dramatically recast to match the original design, with No. 10 moved over to just off the No. 9 green and each hole re-routed in some way until No. 18. The latter will be a par-3 with a tee box close to where the 17th fairway is now, ending with a green tucked hard against the clubhouse.

    The most dramatic addition, however, will be the re-introduction of water into the original path of the San Antonio River, flowing under stone bridges that for decades have stood above only ditches and grass.

    At the par-3 10th, for instance, golfers will hit over two bends in the resurrected river to reach a green 190 yards away. The entire course will stretch 6,159 yards from the back tees, not much different than the current length.

    Nearly $2 million more will be dedicated to ancillary - but still exciting - projects, such as the creation of "a new Texas Golf Museum, Texas Golf Walk of Fame and areas to honor the late Tillinghast and other influential headliners from the area's golf past." The studio of sculptor Gutzon Borghlum - creator of Mount Rushmore - sits on the Brackenridge grounds and will get a makeover. Hiking and biking trails will be added around the course's perimeter.

    Full article

    Austin Insider Fears Lions Already Doomed

    Last week, the University of Texas Board of Regents held hearings on what to do with the "Brackenridge Tract," a parcel of land in Austin that includes the Lions Municipal Golf Course.

    Golf writer Jim Apfelbaum (latest book: Golf Unplugged), longtime host of That's Golf! on AM-1300 in Austin, was at that meeting. Afterward, Jim interviewed Mary Arnold, whom he describes as "a longtime activist on behalf of Austin's parks and municipal golf courses - and one of those who spearheaded previous efforts to save Muny." ("Muny," by the way, is Austinites' shorthand for Lions Municipal, which gives you an indication of how beloved the course is.)

    "It's reassuring to know (Mary is) engaged," Apfelbaum said, "but the tone of her
    remarks is certainly disconcerting." He reported that Mary and other Austin golf insiders fear the UT Regents have already made a decision - one that will lead to the doom of Muny.

    You can listen to Jim's interview with Mary, plus a follow-up conversation, on this page. Scroll to the bottom, under the "Interviews" headline, and click on the speaker icons to play.

    Sunday, November 11, 2007

    Frisco Golfer Wins SPI Texas Senior Open

    The report from the Southern Texas PGA:

    Rick Karbowski of Frisco, Texas, began the final round of the 2007 South Padre Island Texas Senior Open four strokes back of Houston’s Chuck Moran. On a day when the winds were holding at 20 miles per hour and gusting to 35, Karbowski was the only golfer to break par, posting a score of 2-under-par 70 for a 7-under-par total of 209 and a 3-stroke margin over Moran, who took runner-up honors at 64-71-77—212.

    "The course was unbelievably challenging with the wind, but it was fun and I really enjoyed it," said Karbowski, a veteran of the Champions Tour. "And, of course, I was ecstatic to win. This is the first three round tournament I’ve won in Texas."

    Karbowski relocated to Texas from Massachusetts last winter. He is the oldest winner of the New England Open, twice, when he was 48 and 49.

    Karbowski had pulled within 2 shots of Moran by the time the last group reached the turn and within a single stroke when he birdied the 10th hole. Moran, the winner of the 2005 South Padre Island Texas Senior Open and the runner-up last year, suffered bogeys on the 12th and 13th holes, and Karbowski had a one-shot lead.

    When Karbowski birdied the 16th hole and Moran took a bogey, Karbowski was three shots up with just two holes to play and he held on to that margin to win the $14,000 first-place check. Moran took home $10,000 for his three days of work, plus the memory of setting the course record (at South Padre Island Golf Club in Laguna Vista, Texas) of 64 in the first round.

    "It was really nip-and-tuck through most of the round," said Karbowski. "It could have gone either way, but obviously, I felt a little more comfortable when I birdied #16 and Chuck took a bogey."

    Defending champion Danny Edwards of Scottsdale, Ariz., finished in third place with a score of 70-74-72—215, followed by James Blair of Ogden, Utah, in fourth place at 70-72-74—216. Edwards earned $8,000 and Blair $6,000.

    John Adams of Paris, Texas, and Jeff Thomsen of Boise, Id., tied for fifth place at 2-over-par 218 and took home $4,250 each.

    Richard LaPierre of San Antonio took low amateur honors for the second consecutive year, posting a total of 74-76-77—227 for a merchandise certificate valued at $750.

    "I played better last year, but conditions were tougher this year," said LaPierre, who needed seven fewer strokes and a sudden-death playoff victory to take the amateur trophy last year.

    Gary Taylor of Edinburg, Texas, added a highlight to his final round with a hole-in-one on the 12th hole.

    "I didn’t get to see it go in," said Taylor of the 133-yard shot. "The pin was in front and the hole was hidden by brush, but the guys by the green said the ball took one bounce and rolled in."

    Taylor used a 7-iron to make the shot for his third career ace. "The hole was playing into the wind," he said, "and everyone was kidding that I’d made a hole-in-one on that short par 5."

    The year marked the 10th year that South Padre Island Golf Club has hosted the South Padre Island Texas Senior Open.

    Top Finishers
    Rick Karbowski, Frisco, 71-68-70-209
    Chuck Moran, Houston, 64-71-77--212
    Danny Edwards, Scottsdale, AZ, 69-74-72--215
    James Blair, Ogden, UT, 70-72-74--216
    John Adams, Paris, 73-70-75--218
    Jeff Thomsen, Boise, ID, 73-71-74--218
    Full Results

    Saturday, November 10, 2007

    Crenshaw Supports Preservation of Austin's Lions Muny

    As we reported last month, Lions Municipal Golf Course in Austin sits on a parcel of land known as the Brackenridge Tract, a parcel of land owned by the University of Texas and a parcel of land that might be redeveloped or sold off. And that puts the future of Lions - known simply as "Muny" to Austinites - in danger.

    Hat tip to Austin American-Statesman blogger Kevin Robbins for pointing out that University of Texas regents held hearings Friday on the future of the Brackenridge Tract.

    Numerous people spoke at the hearings in favor of keeping the tract in the university system, as is; and some were there specifically to support the continuing presence of Lions Municipal.

    Although he didn't speak, University of Texas legend Ben Crenshaw was one of those in attendance.

    The Statesman reported:

    Professional tour player Ben Crenshaw didn't address the regents but signaled his support for Muny, as the course is called, by his presence at the meeting.

    "My brother Charlie and I were raised in West Austin," Crenshaw said in an interview. "We're a proponent of keeping the golf course intact. I think that's the main thing."


    I hope I'm wrong about this, but I suspect Lions will eventually bite the dust. That land is just too prized - and profitable - to remain a golf course.

    Friday, November 09, 2007

    Coming Up: Golf Galaxy Tour Texas Open

    The Golf Galaxy Tour is a nationwide tour for amateurs - from scratch golfers to higher handicappers, any golfers interested in friendly competition. The San Antonio chapter is known as the Mission City Golf Tour, and MCGT this year is playing host to the Golf Galaxy Tour Texas Open Championship.

    The GGT Texas Open Championship takes place at Golf Club of Texas in San Antonio Nov. 17-18. "There will be 2 days of golf, camaraderie, food, fun," said San Antonio tour director Tony Vaught (who also is the editor of BunkerShot.com's South Central region).

    Added Vaught: "The Golf Galaxy Tour Texas Open Championship is open to all golfers, just like our tour is structured, who normally shoot 95 or better. We are a real golf tour for the average golfer."

    You might think of this event as a good test run for what's coming in 2008, when Vaught at the Mission City Golf Tour host the Golf Galaxy Tour's national championship tournament in San Antonio.

    Even if you're not a member of the Golf Galaxy Tour, you can play in the Texas Open Championship. Assistant tour director Dave Roberts explained, "For golfers that score in the 90s, 80s or 70s and who are looking for fun, friendly competition, this is a perfect fit. Our tour offers 2-person team formats which are a great way to build camaraderie with friends and other local golfers. There are no mandatory membership fees or dues, you don't need a handicap, tournaments are played on weekends, and it's very affordable. On top of that, you can win great prizes."

    For more info see www.MissionCityGolfTour.com, or drop a line to info@MissionCityGolfTour.com.

    Note: The Golf Galaxy Tour is also looking for a tour director to help run 4-6 tournaments in Austin in 2008. "Requirements include residence in the Austin or surrounding area, good people skills and a passion for the game. Will require on average only a few hours per week and responsibilities include helping at events (but you will still be able to play) and having fun!" If interested, send an email to info@TXGolfTour.com.

    Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    Miskell, Kuehne Share TGA Player of the Year Award

    It's only appropriate that Terrence Miskell and Trip Kuehne are the co-winners of the 2007 Texas Golf Association Player of the Year Award. The two are good friends who frequently partner one another in top team competitions. In fact, this year they partnered one another to victory in the TGA State Four-Ball, and later were teammates on the winning Texas team at the USGA State Team Championships.

    Here's a look at each of the players honored by the TGA (biographical info courtesy of the TGA):

    Players of the Year
    Terrence Miskell, 40, New Braunfels - Won four TGA statewide championships in 2007 (two team, two individual). He and fellow Dos Rios Golf Club members, Ken Lawrence and David Pfeuffer, won the Club Team in March then, two months later, partnered up with Kuehne to take the Four-Ball trophy. Later in the year added the State Public Links and State Mid-Amateur individual titles. Also finished tied for fourth at the Texas Amateur. It is Miskell's third Statewide Player of the Year award in the last four years.

    Trip Kuehne, 35, Irving - In addition to his State Four-Ball triumph with Miskell, Kuehne qualified for the 2007 U.S. Open (his fourth appearance) and U.S. Amateur. Was a member of the USA Walker Cup team that defeated GB&I at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland. In September, won his first individual USGA title by capturing the U.S. Mid-Amateur crown at Bandon Dunes in Bend, Oregon.

    Senior Player of the Year
    Tom McGraw, 56, Montgomery - Tied for third in this year's Texas Senior Amateur. Qualified for the 2007 U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Senior Amateur, and U.S. Mid-Amateur. Missed the 36-hole cut in the U.S. Senior Open but made match play in both U.S. Senior and Mid-Amateurs, losing in the second and first rounds respectively.

    North Region Player of the Year
    Rob Couture, 32, Dallas - Finished second in the North Amateur and tied for eighth at the West Texas Amateur. Won the North Mid-Amateur at Texas Star in Euless with rounds of 68-68-73.

    South Region Player of the Year
    Jonathan Mathias, 34, San Antonio - Third consecutive South Regional Player of the Year award for Mathias. Even though he didn't walk away with any regional titles in 2007, was never out of the top five, finishing fifth in the South Four-Ball with partner Randy Lance, third in the South Amateur, and tied for fourth in the South Mid-Amateur.

    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    NTPGA Rebounds at Jordan Cup

    Last week the Northern Texas PGA lost to its southern rivals from the Southern Texas PGA in the annual Joe Black Cup Matches.

    But this week, the guys from the NTPGA made up for it at the James P. Jordan Cup Matches, an annual competition between the NTPGA and the South Central PGA, the section representing Oklahoma, Arkansas and southern Kansas. And hey, it's much more important to beat those Okies, isn't it?

    The NTPGA didn't just beat the SCPGA, it thrashed its northern and eastern counterpart. In fact, the Jordan Cup matches are still ongoing, but the NTPGA won every match played on Day 1, piling up 12 points to 0 for the SCPGA, and claiming an insurmountable lead.

    That's a whuppin'.

    Here are the individual match results:

    Foursomes
    Jeremy Langdale / K.T. Livingston def. Mike Hansen / Dustin Semsch, 4 & 3
    Jeff Barton / Scott Beezley def. Josh Cook / Brian Ward, 7 & 5
    Sean Sciba / Brandon Immel def. Aaron Kristopeit / Grant Masson, 3 & 2
    Chris Brown / Judd Whiteman def. Charles Jaynes / Mark Tackett, 5 & 4
    Paul Norris / Vince Jewell def. Jonathon Hart / Aaron Speaker, 7 & 5 Chad English / Dean Larsson def. Chad Lamb / Brent Mistler, 5 & 4

    Four-Balls
    Dean Larsson / Brandon Immel def. Mike Hansen / Dustin Semsch, 1-up
    Paul Norris / Jeremy Langdale def. Josh Cook / Brian Ward, 3 & 2
    Vince Jewell / Sean Sciba def. Aaron Kristopeit / Grant Masson, 2 & 1
    Chris Brown / Chad English def. Charles Jaynes / Mark Tackett, 1-up
    Jeff Barton / Judd Whiteman def. Jonathon Hart / Aaron Speaker, 3 & 2
    K.T. Livingston / Scott Beezley def. Chad Lamb / Brent Mistler, 4 & 3

    Did every player on the South Central side have the flu or something?

    Sunday, November 04, 2007

    Are You Sure You Want to Win This Trip?

    So I was browsing the coupon insert in this morning's paper (yes, the Bogester sometimes clips coupons, so sue me!) when I ran across a page featuring Wick Fowler's Famous brand of chili products. And there was a sweepstakes notice that caught my eye.

    The folks at Wick Fowler's are giving away a trip for four to the 2008 Terlingua International Championship Chili Cookoff. Hey, I love chili and I love West Texas. Where do I register?

    I can register, it turns out, right here. If I win, me and my three traveling companions will stay at the Lajitas Resort.

    And that's what caught my eye. I wonder if the Wick Fowler's people know just how much trouble the Lajitas Resort - with its lush green Randy Russell-Roy Bechtol designed golf course - is in. The sweepstakes winner and his guests might be only the people staying at the resort during their visit. If the resort is even open at that time.

    Just a couple days ago, the San Antonio Express-News had an article about the bankrupt resort going up for auction as a means of paying off creditors.

    The top auction bid was $13.5 million, short of the hoped-for $20 million and just barely enough to pay off the resort's single largest creditor. The resort is now appraised at $16 million by Brewster County, according to the newspaper, even though soon-to-be-ex-owner Stephen Smith of Austin has sunk more than $100 million into it.

    The resort, by all accounts, is a great place. It's just that nobody goes there. Too far out in the middle of nowhere.

    For now the resort remains open, and presumably any new owner wouldn't be buying it just to close it down. They would (again, presumably) keep it open and try to figure out how to make a profit.

    I hope so. Because Wick Fowler owes me some chili and a free trip.

    Friday, November 02, 2007

    Q-School Results from McKinney

    Stonebridge Ranch in McKinney was the site of a PGA Tour Q-School first-stage qualifier that wrapped up today. The Top 26 plus ties advance to the second stage. Here are those golfers who moved on:

    Johan Kok, Peachtree City, GA, 271
    Matt Every, Scottsdale, AZ, 272
    Mario Tiziani, Shorewood, MN, 273
    Jesse Smith, Dover, NH, 276
    Kyle Willmann, Austin, TX, 276
    Chris Thompson, Lawrence, KS, 276
    Julien Trudeau, Tempe, AZ, 278
    Chad Fribley, Tualatin, OR, 279
    Bryan DeCorso, Windermere, FL, 279
    Henrik Bjornstad, Palm Beach Gardens, FL, 280
    Brad Klapprott, Mulberry, FL, 280
    Jeff Martin, Warwick, RI, 281
    Mike Hendry, Rodney District, New Zealand, 281
    Brett Stegmaier, Vero Beach, FL, 281
    Jacob Rogers, Tucson, AZ, 282
    David Diaz, Hixson, TN, 282
    Brad Sutterfield, St George, UT, 282
    Richard Scott, Kingsville, ON, 282
    Antonio Serna, Leon, Guanajuato, MX, 283
    Jon Mansfield, Clearwater, FL, 283
    Marc Leishman, Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia, 284
    Edward Loar, Dallas, TX, 284
    Adrian Wadey, Scottsdale, AZ, 284
    Michael Wellington, St. Louis, MO, 284
    Brian Cooper, Phoenix, AZ, 284
    Brent Winston, Sheridan, AR, 285
    Dustin Mills, Arvada, CO, 285
    J.J. Killeen, Ft. Worth, TX, 285
    Todd Tanner, Sandy, UT, 285

    Get the full results.

    Nicklaus Hits Horseshoe Bay

    There's a new golf course heading to Horseshoe Bay, and it's being designed by Jack Nicklaus. And this is a signature course, so Nicklaus is being very hands-on with the Summit Rock over Skywater track.

    An article from Cybergolf shows just how hands-on Nicklaus is being:

    Nicklaus rode the site in a Range Rover driven by Progeny (the site's construction contactor) principal David Oberle and was followed by a pack of 10 four-wheel-drive mules sporting Horseshoe Bay officials, local politicians and press. The Golden Bear spent almost four and 1/2 hours touring the site, whose holes are roughed-in but mostly rock, grass and - a lot of - dust.

    ...

    From comments overheard between Nicklaus, Oberle and Chet Williams, senior design associate for Nicklaus Design, the master is considering options such as switching the nines of the golf course, eliminating back-to-back doglegs that turn in the same direction, and relocating several greens. "We have four or five holes where we have a little work to do, and we are going to change them a little to minimize the amount of rock work that has to happen," Nicklaus said. "We did change three or four holes around, but not extensively. This is essentially the same routing I did when I was here six years ago."

    Nicklaus called the Skywater site "a nice piece of property," and noted that his team was working to determine the most efficient way to build the golf course. "That is part of my job - to figure out how to build a really good golf course here without breaking the bank book of the owners," Nicklaus said. "Right now we have probably a dozen holes that fit in nicely. There will be a series of memorable holes on this track, that's for sure."


    The article was interesting because it also quoted Nicklaus talking about the challenges of building in the Hill Country, where so much rock makes things very difficult for construction crews and designers. Nicklaus' term for "rocky" is "bony."


    "I think the Hill Country is the Hill Country - it is all bony," Nicklaus said. "You try to figure out how we are going to build a course without moving any more rock than you have to. That was what we were doing today - making sure that the routing was suitable and to give the construction team some strategy. We are going to work our way from there."

    ...

    Nicklaus, who has designed more than 300 courses around the world, has three signature tracks in play within an hour's drive of the Lake Marble Falls Bridge: The Hills of Lakeway's signature course, Cimarron Hills in Georgetown and Cordillera Ranch in Boerne. He also co-designed the Flintrock Falls course at The Hills of Lakeway with his son Jack Nicklaus II.

    Nicklaus said that of those four, The Hills' signature course was closest in the challenges he faces at Skywater. "Cimarron Hills was a very easy golf course to do because we moved very little dirt there, maybe only 50,000 yards," Nicklaus said. "We didn't move very much at Cordillera either, but we did move a lot at Lakeway, but that was a long time ago.

    "We have made a few changes at Lakeway over the years, but that is a course that has always stood the test of time," Nicklaus added. "Lakeway was also a bony piece of property - much like we have here at Skywater."