Texas Open First Win for Crenshaw
Crenshaw didnt play his senior season at Texas. He turned professional in the fall of 73, played in seven tournaments and made the cut in all of them, then went to the PGA Tour qualifying tournament. He was medallist there by 12 shots, the top player in a field that included Gary McCord, Larry Nelson and Gil Morgan. The first tournament he played in after securing his tour card 30 years ago was, ironically, the Texas Open in San Antonio.
Here, from his book A Feel for the Game, Crenshaw describes what happened:
I was playing well and got wrapped up in trying to beat really established pros like Orville Moody, George Archer and Mike Hill down the stretch, he said. I played the last round with Orville, and I remember when we came up to the last hole, I had a two-shot lead.
Now, Orville was one of the straightest drivers I had ever seen. There was water on both sides of the fairway, and he took his driver, even though a lot of people were playing conservatively that week, and whipped it down the fairway between the lakes. He put pressure on me right there. But somehow I had the presence of mind to take out a 3-iron and I just hit it down the fairway, hit a good second shot, and a 9-iron into the green and ' just like that ' that was it. I shot 65-72-66-67 to beat Orville by two.
Crenshaw never quite lived up to all those collegiate press clippings after that week at the Texas Open. Oh, he won 19 tournaments in his regular-tour career that lasted almost three decades. He won a couple of Masters. He played on five Ryder Cups and was the captain of a Ryder Cup team. But as a teenager and in college, he appeared to be a clone of Jack Nicklaus. What eventually occurred over his 30-year career was something a little different.
Following the great beginning and the early win at San Antonio, Crenshaw would not win again until 1976. He began to fulfill lofty expectations when he won three times in 76 and finished second to Nicklaus, but he would never finish that high again. In only one other year (1979) did he win more than one tournament.
Injuries and illnesses have affected Crenshaws career. He had a thyroid problem and finished 149th on the money list in 1985. And in 1997 he was diagnosed with a foot problem and had surgery. He was the Ryder Cup captain in 1999, so that year and 1998 were basically devoted to his duties. He didnt finish in the top 100 of the money list since 1995 ' when he won the Masters, his last triumph.
If Crenshaw didnt reach the pinnacle expected of him, it might be because of his willingness to listen to everyone. His old friend Kite said as much back in 1983.
I think its hard for Ben to say, No thanks, I dont need your help. He isnt that way, said Kite.
If it was anyone but Ben, Id have been suspicious that not everybody really wanted to be helpful. A little of that goes on, you know. With Ben, they mean well. Even so, the result is still the same if the advice messes you up.
Regardless of whether Crenshaws career has measured up to others expectations, it certainly has measured up to his. He wishes he could have won even more ' what golfer, including Tiger Woods, doesnt? But he is certainly satisfied with what has transpired in his professional life since that Texas Open victory 30 years ago.
I think more than satisfied, said Crenshaw.
When you look at it, Ive been a lot more fortunate than most. Ive had some great experiences. Certainly, the two major victories ' the Masters ' that meant so much to me in so many different ways (were great).
The first victory was more so to prove to myself that I could do it, but the second one was for someone who had meant my whole life in the game (teacher Harvey Penick) ' to have that happen at that time was incredible to me.
And then the Ryder Cup was to follow a great captains legacy (Kite) of players who achieved some wonderful things in this game. And then to watch a team go out and give forth an effort like Ive never seen at a place that I dearly loved (Brookline) was quite special.
Those three things (are special.) And also, to have a chance to win on a lot of other occasions and not achieving it, but to win many events. Ive been luckier than most. Im very satisfied.
Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship
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Highlights: Tiger birdies six of his first seven
Tiger Woods entered Saturday tied atop the board and wasted little time taking the outright lead at East Lake.
Woods moved clear of the field with this birdie at No. 1, whipping the Atlanta crowd into an early frenzy.
Following a 4-foot par save at the second, Woods moved ahead by two and reached 9 under par when he played this approach from 144 and sank this 8-footer for birdie at the third.
One hole later, Woods reached double digits at 10 under par when he poured in a bending 21-footer that just crept over the lip.
He made it four birdies in his first five holes when he bombed a 320-yard drive, wedged to 7 feet, and converted again.
He looked in danger of not capitalizing on his first crack at a par-5 after he came out of a fairway wood on his second shot, but a splash from the bunker and a make from 6 feet gave him his fifth circle in six holes.
He went Vintage Tiger at the seventh, playing this fairway bunker shot from 172 yards to 5 feet, setting up his sixth birdie in his first seven holes and advancing him to 13 under, five clear.
Iowa State honors Arozamena before football game
AMES, Iowa - Iowa State honored slain golf star Celia Barquin Arozamena with an elaborate ceremony ahead of the Cyclones' game against Akron on Saturday.
Iowa State's band used a formation that spelled out Barquin's initials, and both teams wore a decal on their helmets in her memory.
A tribute to Barquin played on a video screen before a moment of silence, and fans were also asked to wear yellow, one of Iowa State's main colors and a nod to Barquin's Spanish roots. Most of the roughly 60,000 fans in attendance complied with yellow and with golf shirts on a chilly morning in central Iowa.
"I think it's fantastic. The tribute is amazing. But ultimately, it would have been perfect if she could have been here for her tribute, which was going to happen anyway." said Ed Hamilton, a retired police officer from nearby Ankeny, Iowa.
Barquin, the Cyclones' first conference champion in 25 years, was finishing up her degree at Iowa State and working toward her ultimate goal of becoming a professional golfer.
A memorial honoring Celia Barquin Arozamena at Jack Trice Stadium. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
Barquin competed in the U.S Women's Open earlier this summer, and coach Christie Martens said she was approaching "the pinnacle of her career."
"Iowa State fans are very loyal. We haven't had too many winning football teams over the years. Yet the fans turn out. There's a great loyalty here -- but it spills into other sports as well," said Iowa State fan Kent Hollrah of Denison, Iowa.
Collin Richards, also 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in Barquin's death. Police said Richards stabbed Barquin and left her body in a pond on the course, where it was found after other golfers noticed her abandoned bag.
Cyclones coach Matt Campbell also wore an Iowa State golf hat on the sideline to show solidarity with his colleagues.
"Be with all of us today Celia, your legacy will forever live on & we are forever grateful for your impact. Much love from your Cyclonitas," Iowa State linebacker Willie Harvey tweeted earlier Saturday, using the nickname that Barquin had for her teammates.
Tiger, Bryson testing each other's golf balls ahead of Paris
ATLANTA – The U.S. Ryder Cup team won’t arrive in Paris for next week’s matches until Monday, but one pairing already seems to be penciled into captain Jim Furyk’s lineup.
Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau have become regular practice-round partners, and when Furyk made both captain’s picks, it added to the notion that they would be paired during the team sessions in France. On Tuesday at East Lake, Woods and DeChambeau teed it up yet again.
Both Woods and DeChambeau play Bridgestone golf balls, although they use different models.
“The two are very similar, they are very numbers-oriented and that translates to their feel on the course, but they get fitted to two different golf balls,” said Adam Rehberg, Bridgestone Golf’s ball-fitting manager.
Woods plays the company’s Tour B XS, which is softer and spins more, while DeChambeau plays the Tour B X, which is designed to take spin off shots.
Although DeChambeau played a version of the company’s golf ball that was close to what Woods now plays earlier in his career, he appeared to be preparing for a pairing next week during Tuesday’s practice round.
“I’ve seen some chipping of the other’s ball during practice rounds, getting used to it,” Rehberg said. “There’s been some sharing of golf balls internally between those guys. It’s almost like the worst kept secret in golf. It seems they are going to be paired up one way or another.”
The rules for the Ryder Cup were changed in 2006. They allow for foursomes teams to change golf balls between holes but not during a hole, which explains the duo’s interest in becoming comfortable with the other’s golf ball, particularly around the green and for chip shots.