Several current PGA tour members have questioned the manhood of NCAA golfers who use push carts instead of carrying their own bag. Golf Digest has the full scoop. Harris English, Billy Horschel and others seem overly offended by the amateurs employing modern push carts (Red remembers the days of pull carts). Not all pros have fallen in line. Bob Estes for one indicates that he wishes he had used one as he now suffers from some medical conditions possibly caused by years of carrying a hefty bag.
Red himself forswore the use of a pull/push cart for many years and insisted on walking and carrying. But in order to still walk as much as possible, Red has moved into the pro-push cart camp. For those who think golf is no exercise at all – Red challenges them to walk 18 holes in the Texas summer heat sometime. Walking an average 18 hole course is typically the equivalent of about 16-20,000 steps. That’s anywhere from 4 to 6 miles. Red you ask, how can that be when a course is only about 7000 yards? That leaves out the green to next tee box stroll of up to 100 yards or more, the walk around the green while putting, the searching for your and your fellow players’ balls, measuring distance, and general meandering, etc. Lugging a 20-30 lb bag for 6 miles is really not that much fun. Even the younger Red would usually be wondering about the sanity of same after the 14th hole. So the pampered elites of the PGA tour who haven’t lifted a bag in years and have a caddy to cater to their every whim on the course need to layoff the amateurs – most of whom are playing for the love of the game and will never play for the big money.
The finest non-major golf tournament held in the United States takes place in Fort Worth this weekend at Colonial Country Club. The event – dubbed the Fort Worth Invitational this year – has been held at the same site longer than any other tournament. As a result, CCC and the PGA have this tournament working like a finely-tuned, well-oiled machine. The facilities for the spectators are fabulous, there is ample room at most holes for up close viewing of the action and the overall layout is spectacular and compact. You can catch action on every hole without having to walk miles in the process. The venerable course holds up as well and while scores can be low only once has more than 20 under been the winning score.
The only downside has been the inability of to attract a better field in recent years – and the sometimes brutally hot weather in late May. The list of past champions, however, is impressive and includes such all-time greats as Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Cary Middlecoff, Billy Caspar, Ben Crenshaw, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Jordan Spieth.
Look for Red on Sunday relaxing in a luxury skybox by the 13th green with cool beverage in hand.
From the Annals of the Highway – In 1949, professional golfer Ben Hogan and his wife Valerie were seriously injured in an auto accident. Hogan was born in Stephenville but raised in Dublin and Fort Worth. After his father committed suicide when Hogan was 9, he began to caddy at Glen Garden CC south of town where he met his later tour rival Byron Nelson. He turned pro at age 18 but struggled for almost a decade before winning a professional event. But before his accident in 1949, Hogan had won 54 times on the PGA Tour including two PGA Championships and one U.S. Open victory.
The Hogans somehow survived the early morning head-on collision with a Greyhound bus on a fog-shrouded bridge east of Van Horn. Hogan threw himself across Valerie in order to protect her. He likely would have been killed otherwise as the steering column punctured the driver’s seat. Hogan suffered a double fracture of his pelvis, a fractured collar bone and left ankle and a chipped rib. He also suffered blood clots that would cause circulatory problems for the remainder of his life.
It seemed doubtful that he would ever compete again at the high level to which his fans were accustomed. After 59 days in the hospital, Hogan began his rehabilitation – mostly by extensive walking. He was back on the course by November and returned to the PGA Tour to start the season at the Los Angeles Open at Riviera Country Club. He finished tied with Sam Snead but lost in a playoff. Hogan would go on the win the U.S. Open in 1950 and five more major championships before he retired in 1959.
From the Annals of “How Low Can You Go” – In 1962, Homero Blancas of Houston shot a 55 at the Premier Invitational Golf Tournament in Longview. Blancas was playing for the University of Houston golf team. Blancas had 13 birdies and an eagle to go 15 under par on the par 70 course. It remains the lowest score in U.S. competitive golf history. Blancas went on to join the PGA tour where he was rookie of the year in 1965. He won four events in his career and played on the 1973 Ryder Cup team. He is a member of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame.
Formerly known as the Colonial National Invitational, the golf tournament now called the Dean & Deluca Invitational at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth is being played this week. If you are a golfer or fan and can only attend one event on the Texas tour, this is the one. The tournament has been held at the same course for over 70 years and is superbly well run. Not only that, but the course layout is such that there are excellent opportunities for viewing the action. It is very easy to move from one hole to another and the facilities are second to none for the average golf fan. The action on the par-3 13th is rumored to get a bit out of hand, but there are plenty of places on the course for a more relaxing view of actual golf being played.