For many years when he was growing up, he would go to Colonial to watch the tournament and after watching Ben Crenshaw win, he knew that he had to go to the University of Texas. He ended up going to the University of Texas and then he got to play in the Crowne Plaza Invitational for the first time in 1983. This is the ultimate week for golf in Texas because of the ties to Ben Hogan and he is always excited for this week on the schedule.
When asked about the shortage of Americans at the BMW PGA Championship, he said that he did not know why so many Americans do not want to play that event or for that matter play more in Europe. When he did not have a tour to play on, he went over to Great Britain where he successfully qualified for the Open Championship. Looking back, he wishes that he had spent at least one year playing on the European Tour. When you play on the European Tour, players tend to spend more time with each other on and off the course as well as when they travel from event to event. Players are a lot more isolated on the PGA TOUR in the United States and one of the reasons for that is that there are more travel and lodging options in the U.S.
Kevin Na is attempting a new practice routine in tournament play in order to speed up his play on the course. Looking back at THE PLAYERS, Chamblee was shocked that Na was trying to change his routine in the final round. In his opinion, it is more difficult and more painful to try to change your pre-shot routine than it is to change your golf swing. Na seems to be focused on making everything more pleasant for his playing partners instead of winning golf tournaments and he will have time to change his routine during the offseason when he is not competing.
When asked about the Jack Nicklaus-designed green complexes at Harbor Shores, he said that the only way these days to make a golf course interesting for amateurs and challenging for professionals is to make the greens difficult. However, he is a bit surprised to hear players who are not known for being openly critical of golf courses coming out and criticizing the greens at Benton Harbor for having contours that border on unfair at moments. All new courses receive criticism when they first open and first host big tournaments but over time that criticism goes away because the players get to know the course a bit better and changes do tend to be to many courses over time.
Ben Hogan’s golf swing is something that has been studied so often that his swing as well as his life has taken on a mythical status. So many people have tried to figure the secret to his swing and Hogan himself implied in a LIFE Magazine interview that there really was a secret. Chamblee feels that the secret was that Hogan spent lots and lots of time practicing and developing his swing in the dirt. Hogan looked like a movie star and he had a swing to match that look. He did things that no one else did even down to the extra spike on his golf shoes. There will never be another swing that matches Hogan’s and the closest thing to it that he has seen was Tiger Woods’ swing in 2000.
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