Keeping Track in Texas


The PGA TOUR moves down the road from Dallas to Fort Worth this week and I cant help but be reminded of how Texas writer Molly Ivins once described the difference between the two places.
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.
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