Texas, it seemed, would never run out of blue sky, pretty women or golfing legends. Why then did just one top-10 player make the trip to Fort Worth?
Butch Harmon coaches Phil Mickelson, but he still respects Tiger Woods. Tigers the gladiator in the Coliseum, he said recently. Hes in with four lions, and the lions die.
A while back I visited Shady Oaks, the Fort Worth club where Hogan spent his retirement years. The old waiter who served him at the same seat overlooking 18 every day remembered that Mr. Hogan liked a Navy Bean soup; he like it hot and he like a hamburger well done. Bet the soup never came out lukewarm, the burgers never medium.
Tiger and Phil are clearly not speed dialing, text messaging pals. And with Butch now in Phils camp, its like Classy Freddy Blassie suddenly deserting Bruno Sammartino in a WWF flip-flop. Theres just one problem with this steel cage, 460cc, pay-per-view fantasy - the other 154 guys who keep showing up at golf tournaments.
Its not my bag, but just once Id like to go ice fishing for walleye in Minnesota with Lumpy. In the plaid jacket he won at Colonial. Mind you, I dont know a walleye from a red eye, but it sounds good.
Fact is that tradition for many matters most at the majors, increasingly emphasized by the press and the dominant players, their schedules built around those tournaments that will determine their place in history.
I played Kiawah in 35-mile-per-hour winds, my scorecard quickly resembling a high-scoring NBA game.
Fulton Allem popped up at Colonial. His caddie remembers Fulty telling him during a particularly trying round, Cuzzy, get me a cigarette.
I forget them, the caddie said.
Alright, Fulty countered. Im trying to quit anyway.
Almost immediately, Fulty hit a terrible shot.
Dammit, he barked I cant play without cigarettes. Get me some menthols.
The caddie swapped two golf balls for two menthols with an accommodating fan.
Would it be a total shock to see tough minded Zach Johnson halfway to the Grand Slam after Oakmont metes out its punishment next month?
In an interview to be broadcast on GOLF CHANNEL Tuesday, June 12 at 9 p.m. ET, Johnny Miller, responding to the charge that he doesnt talk to the players he covers, said, I was never chummy and most of your Hall of Fame players didnt chum either -- Hogan, Nicklaus, Floyd. They werent chummy guys.
Can Texas bring the zing back to the swing? Honda re-grouped and kicked off a beefed up Florida swing. True, the new lineup with the big bang, eight-figure, FedExCup finish was sure to have the inevitable soft spot and this may be it. But there are enough big power players in a state that does big bigger and better than anyone else to make a renewed push. Heck, call Jerry Jones for an idea. He just landed the 2011 Super Bowl for Arlington. Jerry might just be the guy to give pro golf in the Metroplex a nice facelift.
Its Borscht Belt old but I still love it. Fulty, enraged over a lousy shot, says to his caddie, Give me something to break. The caddie shoots back, Why dont you try breaking par?