By Tom Ward
Last Sunday Boo Weekly emerged from a crowded leader board to capture the coveted title at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial for his first win in five years. Matt Kuchar, the leader going into the final round, came up a shot short and finished second. Defending champ Zach Johnson made another run for a plaid jacket, but wound up in third. It was an exciting finish to wrap up the PGA Tour’s annual two-week stop in the Metroplex. It culminated with the fans ‘Booing’ the winner, which seemed quite appropriate when your name is Boo Weekly.
My Colonial week started early on Monday morning with the Pro-Am. I had a number of my students playing in the morning and afternoon pairings. I walked all over the course catching different players on both the front and back nine play a few holes each. This wandering the course in search of my players went on until about 3 p.m. and then I headed home to get ready for the Ben Hogan Awards dinner that evening. I got my tux out and headed back to Colonial where I saw Corey Pavin ( Two-time Colonial champ & past U.S. Open winner) speak that evening. Chris Williams won the award as the best collegiate golfer.
On Wednesday I again went over to watch the second Pro-Am as I had a few other students playing in this one. Fortunately, there weren’t as many players participating so I could handle moving around the course better to catch some of the golf being played by my guys. One of my old golf pro buddies came with me and he hung around the 9th green and practice putting green to catch all the players coming in while I headed out on the course. During the day I visited the media center and picked up some materials about the tournament and while I was there I ran into some of my friends covering the event for the newspapers and television.
I grabbed some food at the buffet they had set up for the press before heading back out to the course. It’s funny, I was more tired walking around watching golf than I ever am when I am playing the game. Friday morning I got up at 5:30 to beat the traffic to get over to Rockwood Golf Course where the Ben Hogan Learning Center is located . I was invited my friend Rick Doggett to attend the Ben Hogan Breakfast in conjunction with the First Tee of Ft. Worth. I got there a little early so I walked around the impressive facilities marveling at all the Ben Hogan memorabilia and setup that was built for such an important program to help young people learn life skills. I will be doing a story soon about the First Tee in an upcoming article.
Ian Baker-Finch ( 1989 Colonial champ & 1991 British Open winner) was the honorary speaker. It was nice to catch up with Ian as I hadn’t seen him since the early 1980’s when we both played on the Asian golf circuit. He did a terrific job speaking to a packed audience that included Former Ft. Worth mayor Mike Moncrief, Marty Leonard ( daughter of Colonial founder Marvin Leonard), Rich Lerner and Scott Walker of the Golf Channel, and two members of the Military Warriors Support Foundation (Johnny Yenason and David Hillary).
Saturday I headed out to Colonial with my wife, who always enjoys going to the tournament. We caught a lot of great golf action in between intermittent rain that pelted the course most of the afternoon before the sunshine finally broke through late in the day. I had a chance to see my friend Tomo Kuga, who travels with the PGA Tour taking the TV feed and broadcasting it back to Japan. He introduced us to some of his friends working with the telecast as we had a drink at the media center.
Later on we hooked up with them at the CBS trailer and he gave us a private tour. It was really fascinating going behind the scenes and visiting with some of the TV technicians. Then we had the chance to watch the great TV producer Lance Barrow in action directing the live telecast. Lance was like an orchestra conductor calling the shots from the numerous TV screens and talking directly to the on-air announcers like Jim Nance, Nick Faldo, David Feherty, Gary McCord and Baker-Finch. In between commercials, Lance turned his chair around and greeted all of us in attendance before going back to work. Lance is a wonderful guy I’ve met on numerous occasions who lives in Colleyville whenever he’s not on the road which CBS – which probably means he doesn’t get home much. I’m sure he enjoys it when the PGA Tour is in town during these two weeks, getting to see his family and sleep in his own bed.
Before heading out near the conclusion of the third round we swung by the pro shop to pick up some things and I visited with my friend Matt Marino, one of the assistant pro’s. Finally we went by the media center and saw Bill Nichols, a longtime golf writer for the Dallas Morning News, who was on my team the first time I played in the media tournament a few years ago and we ended up winning the event. I thanked David Walker, who does a first rate job running the media center, before heading home.
I didn’t make it back out to see the final round on Sunday, but I did watch it at home on TV. The course looked great as fan favorite Boo Weekly knocked in the winning putt. It was another successful tournament put on by the great people over at Colonial.
I want to thank all the wonderful members at the club who have been so nice to me over the years and I can’t wait until we do it again next year!
Tom Ward can be reached at www.teetimewithtom.com