Where have all the Texas legends gone?

By Jason SobelMay 18, 2012, 9:20 pm

IRVING, Texas – They say everything is bigger in Texas, from the trucks to the cattle to the 4-inch stiletto heels preferred by many of the local females here in the Byron Nelson Championship gallery.

It’s a notion which extends beyond the usual reproduction of T-shirt phrases and bumper-sticker slogans. It shapes the collective attitude of the state’s inhabitants. The way of life 'round these parts is so common that it has even spawned an adjective, and it doesn’t take a real-life cowboy to understand the meaning of “Texas-sized.”

Professional golfers have always been bigger here, too. Bigger presences, bigger winners, bigger legends. The chain of champions from the Lone Star State reads like a chronology of the game’s history, from Byron Nelson to Ben Hogan to Jimmy Demaret to Lloyd Mangrum to Jackie Burke Jr. to Lee Trevino to Tom Kite to Ben Crenshaw. Each generation has enjoyed a Texas-sized superstar, with some throughout history overlapping in the same area.

Each one, that is, except the current one.

Check the roster of best golfers with a Texas address and you’ll find an amalgamation of worldly travelers who have transplanted to a place with sustainable roots in the game. The list covers Hunter Mahan, Jason Day, K.J. Choi, Rory Sabbatini, Y.E. Yang and many others who came for the golf and weather – and never left.

Photo gallery: Texas' greatest players

It’s not that the current era is completely devoid of talent. Justin Leonard is the current active PGA Tour victory leader from here with 12; Bob Estes, Harrison Frazar, Mark Brooks and Scott Verplank have enjoyed lengthy careers; Colt Knost, Bobby Gates and J.J. Killeen are amongst a bevy of up-and-comers; and young studs Jordan Spieth and Kelly Kraft provide hope for the future.

There’s some hope for the very immediate future, too. The No. 2 position on the leaderboard halfway through the Nelson is shared by, amongst others, a pair of Colleyville residents in Chad Campbell and Ryan Palmer, no strangers to such surroundings in PGA Tour events.

Between 'em, they own seven career titles – Campbell has four; Palmer three – putting each on the short list of most accomplished active players from the state. Living just 25 minutes from the TPC-Four Seasons course probably doesn’t hurt, either.

“It’s hard to say,” Campbell surmised. “Obviously, I know the course probably as well as anybody, so you definitely think you would play better.”

Campbell and Palmer know each other as well as anybody, too.

Even though Campbell is two years older, they grew up playing junior golf against each other – Palmer and Campbell’s caddie, Judd Burkett, were on the same high school team – and have now been neighbors for about five years.

“We live a 30-second walk away from each other,” Palmer said. “Right around the corner. Out my gate and to the left.”

Really? That close?

“You could probably fly a 5-iron from my backyard to his,” he continued with a laugh. “I haven’t tried it yet.”

To which Campbell countered, “It would probably take me a 3-iron. He’s a little bit longer than I am.”

Each player intimated that he would enjoy a Sunday afternoon pairing with the other – especially if that pairing just happened to be the last one of the day.

“That would be great,” Campbell said. “We play quite a few practice rounds together.”

“We all stayed together at Honda this year and I went to dinner over at their house twice last week at Players,” Palmer added. “It’s funny, we’re never home together. I see him more on the road than at home.”

They’re not only battling for supremacy in the community, but amongst Texas players, as well. Only one native of this state has captured the Nelson in the past two decades; that was Verplank a half-decade ago.

If motivation and home cooking aren’t enough to propel either to victory this week, then consider more tangible reasoning.

A healthy, consistent wind blew through the course on Friday and – as usual around here – is expected to persist throughout the week. Advantage goes to the Texans, who are accustomed to battling in such conditions.

“In my mind, it is. I played well in it last year,” said Palmer, who lost in a playoff to Keegan Bradley. “To me, I wouldn’t say I’m a favorite, but in my mind I have a little bit of an advantage going forward because of last year.”

There haven’t been many favorites from this state in recent years. The days of Hogan and Nelson, and even Kite and Crenshaw, are either long gone or simply long dormant, waiting for a rebirth in the current era.

A win from Campbell or Palmer would hardly revive the prominence of Lone Star State golf, but around here it would certainly serve as a Texas-sized victory.

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1

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Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”

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Kisner not expecting awkward night with Spieth

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:33 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It might get awkward in that star-studded rental house Saturday night.

Two of the three Open co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner, are sharing a house this week near Carnoustie. Though it’ll be late by the time they both get back to the house Saturday night, they’ll have plenty of time to kill Sunday morning, with their tee times not until nearly 3 p.m. local time.

“Everybody is probably going to get treatment and eating and trying to find a bed,” Kisner said. “I’m sure there’ll be some conversations. There always are. Everybody has a few horror stories or good laughs over something that happened out there. That will probably be the end of it.”

One thing they’re almost certain to discuss is the weather.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

After three days of mostly benign conditions, Sunday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 mph.

“When you watch any TV, that’s all they talk about – how Sunday’s coming,” Kisner said. “It’s going to be a true test, and we’ll get to see really who’s hitting it the best and playing the best.”

Zach Johnson is also in the house – along with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner – and he rode to the course Saturday with Kisner, with whom he played in the final group, at 4 p.m. It’s unclear whether the co-leaders Sunday will have a similar arrangement.

This is the third year that Spieth and Co. have shared a house at The Open, though Kisner is a new addition to the group.

“It’s the end of the week,” Kisner said. “Everybody’s got a lot of stuff going on. Everybody’s going their separate ways tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we’ll all sit around and laugh on the couch and talk about why that guy’s making so many birdies.”

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Final-round tee times for the 147th Open Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:26 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth begins his quest for a second consecutive claret jug and fourth major overall at 9:45 a.m. ET Sunday at Carnoustie, playing alongside Xander Schauffele. This marks the first time Schauffele has ever held a 54-hole lead in his career.

The Kevins – Kisner and Chappell – are in the penultimate group, 10 minutes earlier at 9:35 a.m. Kisner is tied with Spieth and Schauffele at 9 under par. Chappell is two shots back at 7 under.

But it’s the next group that has people interested the most. Tiger Woods is paired with Francesco Molinari at 9:25 a.m. Woods, in search of his 15th major championship and first in 10 years, shot a third-round 66 to vault into a tie for sixth place, four shots behind the lead. He began the day six shots behind. Molinari has two wins and two second-place finishes in his last four events.

Rory McIlroy was within striking distance of the lead but bogeyed two of the last three holes to drop into a sixth-place tie. He is paired with 2017 Open runner-up Matt Kuchar at 9:05 a.m.

3:00AM ET: Beau Hossler

3:10AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Rafa Cabrera Bello

3:20AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Si-Woo Kim

3:30AM ET: Luke List, Keegan Bradley

3:40AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

3:50AM ET: Tyrrell Hatton, Paul Dunne

4:00AM ET: Cameron Davis, Brooks Koepka

4:10AM ET: Brett Rumford, Kevin Na

4:20AM ET: Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey

4:30AM ET: Gavin Green, Ryan Fox

4:45AM ET: Shubhankar Sharma, Gary Woodland

4:55AM ET: Sam Locke (a), Masahiro Kawamura

5:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Rhys Enoch

5:15AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Jason Day

5:25AM ET: Adam Hadwin, Yuta Ikeda

5:35AM ET: Sung Kang, Brandon Stone

5:45AM ET: Thomas Pieters, Stewart Cink

5:55AM ET: Lee Westwood, Julian Suri

6:05AM ET: Tom Lewis, Marc Leishman

6:15AM ET: Ross Fisher, Jason Dufner

6:30AM ET: Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed

6:40AM ET: Phil Mickelson, Eddie Pepperell

6:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Bernhard Langer

7:00AM ET: Michael Kim, Patrick Cantlay

7:10AM ET: Shaun Norris, Lucas Herbert

7:20AM ET: Sean Crocker, Louis Oosthuizen

7:30AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Satoshi Kodaira

7:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Danny Willett

7:50AM ET: Haotong Li, Kyle Stanley

8:00AM ET: Chris Wood, Byeong Hun An

8:15AM ET: Erik Van Rooyen, Yusaku Miyazato

8:25AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

8:35AM ET: Adam Scott, Charley Hoffman

8:45AM ET: Justin Rose, Austin Cook

8:55AM ET: Tommy Fleetwood, Zach Johnson

9:05AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy

9:15AM ET: Webb Simpson, Alex Noren

9:25AM ET: Francesco Molinari, Tiger Woods

9:35AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Kevin Chappell

9:45AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele