Colonial's fall from grace

By Rex HoggardMay 23, 2012, 9:05 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas – Less than a chip shot from Colonial’s 18th green looms an oversized statue of Ben Hogan, a bronze testament to what makes the club special that glares stoically across the property as only the “Hawk” could.

As Wednesday’s pro-am at this year’s Colonial inched its way around the tree-lined layout one could only imagine what the often aloof Hogan would make of the field assembled for his invitational.

If half the stories about Hogan are true, his reaction to this year’s tee sheet would likely be curt and largely unprintable.

It’s not as though Colonial officials are reaching for the “eject” lever. Truth is they like the field and cozy Colonial’s spot on the Tour dance card.

With two of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking and six of the top 10 on the current FedEx Cup points list some tournaments would give up a full house of sponsor exemptions for that kind of problem. But Colonial isn’t just some tournament.

Hogan’s Alley dates to 1941 and the list of past champions is a Hall of Fame roll call – Hogan (five times), Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Sam Snead, Tommy Bolt, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Watson and Phil Mickelson are all etched into the Wall of Champions adjacent the first tee.

But somewhere along the way the tournament that is tied directly to Hogan, who lived his life in search of perfection, has lurched into inexplicable mediocrity. A middle-of-the-pack stop wedged between the Masters, U.S. Open and a May Players Championship that, along with the creation of the World Golf Championships, likely expedited Colonial’s fall from grace.

For decades there has been an unwritten Tour hierarchy, headlined always by the majors but altered in recent years with the advent of the WGC events.

“It was always the majors and then these events, Colonial, Memorial, Bay Hill, the (Byron) Nelson,” said 2004 Colonial champion Steve Flesch. “But now the WGCs are in the second tier and these have slipped.”

In many ways the Legend’s Slam, at least the two Texas legs, have become victims of a global game and crowded schedule.

The invention of the WGCs in 1999 supplanted many tournaments on Tour, but particularly previously considered must-stop events in Dallas, Orlando, Columbus, Ohio, and Fort Worth. Nor did it help that when The Players made the move to May it created scheduling issues for both the Colonial and Nelson.

“The Nelson had a great date and a big-time feel to it when it was the week of The Players,” said Harrison Frazar, referring to the post-May Players era when the Nelson was held in late April and early May. “Sandwiched between The Players and the Memorial it’s just going to struggle.”

Frazar is more than just a curious Tour bystander when it comes to the Texas two-step. The Dallas native hasn’t missed a Nelson, as either a spectator or competitor, since 1995 and began attending that event in 1985.

“Both of these tournaments have a real special place in my heart,” he said.

As the current chairman of the Tour’s Player Advisory Council bound for a spot on next year’s Policy Board, Frazar also is in a unique position to enact change, but in this case there is no quick fix.

Because of heat concerns it would be impossible to move the Texas swing later in the year and there is little, or no, room earlier in the season.

“That’s the age-old question around here, ‘What do we do?’” Frazar asked. “For some reason the young guys don’t want the shotmaker’s courses anymore (like Colonial). They want the bomber’s courses. I think that’s part of it.

“It’s not that anybody thinks they are bad tournaments or puts them on their schedule as a place they don’t want to go. When they started laying it out and you have the lead up to Augusta, the lead up to The Players and the lead up to the (U.S.) Open these two spots are in a ‘no-man’s land.’”

The Nelson and Colonial flipped dates this season, with the Dallas stop following The Players which seemed to help the field at TPC Four Seasons Resort, but when asked if a similar swap next year or beyond would help the Colonial tournament director Michael Tothe balked.

“Our title sponsor is a hotel and likes the Memorial Day slot,” Tothe said. “And if you flipped the dates I think it would just confuse the players.”

Compounding the Texas two-step’s field issues is this week’s BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour’s flagship event that virtually guarantees that neither event will ever woo the Continent’s best to the heart of Texas.

That Mickelson, a Colonial winner in ’00 and ’08, hasn’t played the Fort Worth stop since 2010 and Tiger Woods has been AWOL since 1997 also doesn’t help the event’s curb appeal.

In short, this leg of the Legend’s Slam has a problem without a ready fix, a reality that wouldn’t sit well with Hogan, a man who overcame a nasty hook and near-fatal car crash with hard work. But this time there may not be any answers, no matter how hard you look for them in the dirt.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

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Rory faces criticism

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President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

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Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


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Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

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Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

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Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.