Crenshaw eager to show off course he helped design

By Associated PressMay 27, 2010, 2:16 am

Champions Tour

PARKER, Colo. – Ben Crenshaw’s popularity on the practice green has soared in recent days as fellow golfers seek him out to possibly unlock the secrets to this challenging course.

The two-time Masters champion is happy to oblige, even if it takes away some of his inside knowledge.

After all, it’s a chance to brag about his baby.

Crenshaw and design partner Bill Coore are the architects behind the Colorado Golf Club, site of the Senior PGA Championship that begins Thursday.

All this week, Crenshaw has felt more like a tour guide than a tour pro, dispensing information he’s gleaned from his work on the course. Things like, don’t leave the ball above the hole on certain greens and the best angles to hit in from on various fairways.

“This is a different role for me,” said Crenshaw, who’s attempting to become the first to win the Senior PGA on a course he designed since Jack Nicklaus accomplished the feat more than 19 years ago at the PGA National Golf Club. “I want the guys to play well and have fun with it. I want them to shoot some good scores.”

A tough assignment.

At 7,490 yards on the scorecard, this is setting up to be one of the longest courses ever for a Champions Tour event. The sprawling design features plenty of rolling terrain, tricky greens and gullies that can swallow up a golf ball.

 

Ben Crenshaw smiles
Crenshaw is eager to see the challenge his co-design creates. (Getty Images)
That doesn’t even take into account the higher elevation (6,100 feet) and the blowing winds (gusting up to 50 mph Monday).

 

“Tricky,” Tom Kite explained after a recent practice round. “A lot of local knowledge is required for this course.”

No one really has any depth of knowledge. Only three years old, the course hasn’t been played all that often, outside of local golfers such as Mark Wiebe and Gary Hallberg, who are both in the field.

Even Crenshaw hasn’t played many rounds on the course, just enough to know the lay of the land. Just enough to know it’s going to take some imaginative shots to come away with a win.

The course definitely won’t play easy, especially if the wind keeps howling.

“But they’re pretty skilled at breaking down a golf course and seeing how it plays,” said Crenshaw, who also teamed with Coore to design the Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii, which serves as the PGA Tour’s season-opening event.

Like a proud father, Crenshaw has been asking players for early comments on the course: How’s it playing? Is it challenging enough? Do the players like it?

Eduardo Romero couldn’t resist the chance at a good-natured barb.

“I told him, ‘Ben, it’s a great course—for cows,”’ Romero said.

Only then did Romero break into a grin, Crenshaw quickly following suit.

“It’s a great course,” Romero said. “A fantastic course.”

One that’s been a long time in the making.

Coore originally scouted the land in the mid ’80s, hoping to sculpt a course just like this, one that takes advantage of the natural features. Coore and Crenshaw even had a name to go with the property: High Prairie Club.

But it never materialized.

Shortly after inspecting the property, the project was scrubbed for equestrian lots.

“So kaput, there went our golf course,” Crenshaw said.

Nearly 20 years later, another investor contacted Coore and Crenshaw about designing a course in this area. In nearly the same spot, no less, just two miles down the road.

Same type of terrain, so they maintained the same type of approach: study the features and figure out a game plan. Coore even went so far as to examine the deer and cattle trails, just to see how the animals navigated through the area.

“We try to let the site guide us in terms of the character of the golf course,” Coore explained.

What emerged is a range of drivable par 4s (hole No. 14 is just 326 yards) and picturesque par 3s.

“There’s enough for players to have their hands full,” Crenshaw said.

Tom Watson won’t argue there, having become quite fond of Crenshaw’s coursework.

“He delivered the goods,” Watson said. “The golf course is a good test, has great variety to it. He gives you a safe side and a risky side. That’s the way golf should be played.”

To take advantage of this course, Crenshaw surmised, requires patience and someone with an all-around game. It doesn’t cater simply to big hitters or short-game specialists.

“A well thought-out and a well-planned shot will get you around the course,” said Crenshaw, who’s currently designing a course near Hong Kong. “It will be fun to see these guys play.”

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.