Keeping Track in Texas
In Dallas, Ivins wrote, they call it Sushi.
In Fort Worth, she added, they call it bait.
Nothing wrong with Dallas in my book. Its just that Fort Worth is more of a town than it is a city. And it doesnt mind that distinction one bit.
Theyll stage the event, now called The Bank of America Colonial, for the 59th time this week at venerable Colonial Country Club. Hogan won here five times. Crenshaw will be teeing it up for his 33d iteration. Jenkins and Shrake wrung enough good one-liners out of this place that Twain, had he been sports editor of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, would have proud.
Annika caused a feel-good stir here in 2003. And Nelson once told me that he would have won this thing, too, if they hadnt started it pretty much after he had begun easing into retirement.
Which brings this column, in a roundabout, rambling, blogging, Lone Star storytellers kind of way to Lord Byrons tournament played near Dallas last week.
A quiet, young South African named Trevor Immelman finished runner-up for the second week in a row. And it got me looking at the Official World Golf Rankings.
The personality of the 2006 year in golf hasnt yet fully revealed itself. But one of the story lines has been the roaring success of the Aussies. Stuart Appleby has won twice, Geoff Ogilvy, Rod Pampling and Aaron Baddeley have all won once.
Five Aussies'Adam Scott (6), Ogilvy (16), Appleby (18), Pampling (30), Nick OHern (31) and Robert Allenby (35)--currently rank in the worlds top 35.
But five South Africans'Retief Goosen (3), Ernie Els (6), Tim Clark (17), Rory Sabbatini (24) and Immelman (34 and rising with a bullet)'currently rank in the worlds top 34.
If golf were an Olympic sport (and it still may become one before the advent of the 2020 Summer Games) which one of those two teams would you bet on?
Exactly. It would be very difficult not to choose the South Africans.
Meanwhile, heres a little more (barbecued) food for thought:
There is a legitimate race for rookie of the year on the PGA Tour and there is a legitimate dark horse candidate:
J.B. Holmes has the only win among those elegible. Camilo Villegas has won the most money. Bubba Watson ranks No. 1 in driving distance.
But the hirsute Charlie Hoffman has elbowed his way into the team picture. Hoffman tied for eighth last week. It was his third top 10 of the young season. None of the other three has more top 10s in 2006.
The early leader for Player of the Year is Phil Mickelson. But dont count out Tiger Woods.
And while youre at it, dont worry about Chris DiMarcos 15th place status on the latest Ryder Cup point standings. He will be Phil Mickelsons partner in the matches scheduled for September in Ireland. If there is such a thing as a sure thing for a captains pick. It is DiMarco.
He wants to play with Mickelson. Mickelson wants him to play with Mickelson. And, most important of all, U.S. captain Tom Lehman wants him to play with Mickelson.
End of story.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one
Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.
Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia
SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.
Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.
''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.
But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.
In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.
''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''
Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.
The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.
''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''
NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.
Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long
Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.
Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.
"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"
The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.
Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.
"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."
Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.
"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.
"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.
"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."
Move over Lydia, a new Ko is coming to LPGA
Another gifted young South Korean will be joining the LPGA ranks next year.
Jin Young Ko, the Korean LPGA Tour star, informed the American-based LPGA on Sunday night that she will be taking up membership next year. Ko earned the right by winning the LPGA’s KEB Hana Bank Championship as a nonmember in South Korea in October.
Ko, 22, no relation to Lydia Ko, first burst on to the international spotlight with her run into contention at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry two years ago. She led there through 54 holes, with Inbee Park overtaking her in the final round to win.
With 10 KLPGA Tour titles, three in each of the last two seasons, Ko has risen to No. 19 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.
Ko told GolfChannel.com Sunday afternoon that she was struggling over the decision, with a Monday deadline looming.
“It’s a difficult decision to leave home,” Ko said after the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, when she was still undecided. “The travelling far away, on my own, the loneliness, that’s what is difficult.”
Ko will be the favorite to win the LPGA’s Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award next year. South Koreans have won that award the last three years. Sung Hyun Park won it this year, In Gee Chun last year and Sei Young Kim in 2015. South Korean-born players have won the last four, with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko winning it in 2014. Ko was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6.
Ko released this statement through the LPGA on Wednesday:
"It has been my dream since I was young to play on the LPGA Tour and I look forward to testing myself against the best players on a worldwide stage. I know it is going to be tough but making a first win as an LPGA member and winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year award would be two of the biggest goals I would like to achieve next year."