It’s hard to believe that I just wrapped up my 2019 PGA Tour Radio season last week at The Northern Trust at Liberty National. It seems like Kapalua and the Sentry TOC was just last week. Okay, January 1st was a long time ago, but it flew by. The new season starts in just about a month at The Greenbriar and I look forward to being on the broadcast team for that one, but until then, here’s some highlighted notes from the tournaments I worked this past season.
—Getting the chance to play the professional tees at Kapalua’s Plantation course was a real treat. I was happy to break 100 with a 91, but would live another crack at it to break 90.
—I love working The Waste Management Phoenix Open. The atmosphere is like no other tournament and I enjoy the cheering and banter with the fans. I hope I get to go again next year.
—The trip to Bay Hill and Arnold Palmer’s office is one I’ll never forget. What made it very special was the invitation to visit Arnie’s office and sit at the desk.
—I got the chance to call both of Rory Mcllroy’s wins this season (I know he hopes to grab another over the next two weeks) at The Players and RBC Canadian Open and it was great. He finished off The Players with some clutch shots down the stretch and nearly shot 59 during his dominant win in Canada. To top it off, he’s one of the most cordial and friendly interviews on the PGA Tour.
—I like the way Brooks Koepka goes about his business. It works and it took winning for all of us to notice.
—Tiger Woods is still the biggest draw in golf and I hope he takes care of himself so he can continue to be part of the PGA Tour and a factor for at least a few more years.
—I still can’t figure out if I like Trinity Forest or not. The home of the Byron Nelson was built on a converted dump and it seems intriguing. I guess I’d have to play it to get a better feel.
—Liberty National was an instant hit with me, but that’s probably because of the breathtaking views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty from every hole. Of course, I’d have to play that too.
—Can you tell I am fishing for a few invites to some exclusive places. I have colleagues that have played some of the great tracks that we get to walk and call golf on. I did get to play two of them this year, Kapalua and Hamilton Golf and CC, and it was great! Hamilton was a real surprise. It’s a great track that is fun to play.
—I was unsuccessful in limiting my souvenir buying. I think the only tournament I didn’t pull the trigger on a purchase was the Byron Nelson at Trinity Forest. I remember why too, things were a bit overpriced for my liking.
—The best meal I ate on the road this season was at Fishbone Grill in Orlando. It was surprising good for a spot on a major route one block from Denny’s.
—Worst meal I ate on the road this season (excluding airports) was in Dallas. Some fancy tex mex place that wouldn’t hold a candle to the Lloyd Taco Truck in Buffalo.
—Most surprising meal was the chicken joint in Hamilton called The Coop. A cool vibe, cool bartenders, and a comfort menu that was killer. We ate there twice over five days.
I know that I am leaving some things out that I’ll think of tomorrow or the day after, but the upcoming season will provide more for future columns.
Bryson DeChambeau is taking a lot of grief, heat, and criticism for slow play, but he’s not the only one. There are several players that take too long to process the next shot. But that is easy for us to say. We’re not playing for our livelihoods, fame, and fortune. I’m sure I’d slow things up a bit too with my tour card or a larger share of the purse on the line. I don’t know what the answer is to speed up play because it only takes one call for a rules official to slow things up as players want to get things right and protect the field.
The good news is, it’s being talked about, and the PGA Tour is taking some action as they will now track players through Shot Link monitoring. It’s a start. My guess is things will cool down a bit this week with a smaller field at the BMW Championship and the fall schedule will see some implementation of pace of play enforcement. But that is just my guess.
—I played in two scrambles this past Monday and wore down at the end. I’ve sure travel had something to do with it, but it’s a lot to be out there all day with the slow pace of charity events. However, it was fun! Two great tracks in one day 30 minutes apart. It was actually the second time I did it this year, and the last. After both Mondays, I was completely useless on the Tuesdays.
—I love the charity golf calendar in Buffalo. For most of the tournaments I play in each year, it’s the only time I get to see some of the folks who run, play or volunteer for the organizations here in town.
I’m very fortunate to be able and invited to participate.
—I hate that summer is winding down because that means many of you put the clubs away. Keep em out, and if we haven’t golfed yet this summer, let’s get it on the calendar!