When you arrive at Colonial G.C. for the first time and walk to the first tee you are met by the Wall of Champions. The names on the wall (which date back to 1946) have won this tournament and many have won on multiple occassions. The names are the "who's who" of golfs past, present and future "Hall of Famers". Hogan, Palmer, Nicklaus it is an impressive list of Champions.
The course was founded in 1936 by Marvin Leonard and has hosted numerous major amateur and professional tournaments over the years. It is one of the few courses in this part of the USA that has "bent" grass greens. Combined with the small size and undulating surfaces it makes hitting your approach shots close a challenge, especially if the wind blows, like the weather forecast has been predicting.
The course plays just over 7000 yards which by today's standards is considered short, but this older course still has the ability to challenge the modern professional golfer. When you look down the list of multiple winners here at Colonial G.C. the names like Hogan (4 titles), Pavin (3 titles) jump out and the reason is that you have to drive it straight and shape the ball both ways if you want to be in position to be able to get to the pins, which will almost be sure to be set in tight positions behind the perfectly positioned bunkers.
Short siding yourself is not a good idea around here as the landing area from the bunkers and grass hollows around the green will always be downhill and this makes stopping your recovery shot almost impossible. The majority of winners like last years winner Zac Johnson are straight drivers of the ball, able to hit their approach shots with excellent distance control and are in the top ten in the scrambling category. The rough has been lowered this year so scores should be low if the weather does not interfere too much.
I am here working with Michael Sim and next week at the Byron Nelson Classic, and these two events form the "Texas Swing" on the USPGA Tour. It follows the "West Coast" and "Florida" swings. On Tuesday we spent 4 hours on the range had lunch then Michael played a few holes with fellow Aussies Adam Scott and Jason Day. Both these guys are in good form and as this is Jasons home course (being based in Dallas and a member of Colonial G.C.) he is rated a hot favourite to win.
In fact John Senden, Greg Chalmers and Rod Pampling also call Dallas home and with the other Aussies playing Mark Leishman, Nathan Green we could possibly have another Aussie winner. Australians that have won here in the past are Ian Baker-Finch and Bruce Devlin more straight drivers and great iron players!
With rain (occasional thunder storm) and wind forecasted everyday we could possibly see a Monday finish which will throw a spanner in the works for those who are entered on Monday to play the US 36 hole Qualifying for the British Open in July. So preparation this week has been for Michael to be ready mentally to play start stop golf over the next few days which could be on the cards.
"The players who are patient and don't allow frustration to creep into their game will put themselves in position to do well this week."
Michael's regular caddy Matthew "Bussy" Tritton will have his work cut out on and off the course. The bag will be loaded up with at least 3 towels, extra gloves, tour umbrella (these add weight) to the already heavy tour bag, extra food snacks and sandwich's in case of delays. Keeping the grips dry throughout the round will be the ultimate task apart from calculating the correct distance for each shot and working out exactly where the wind is blowing from!
And you thought the caddy just carried the bag...
On the subject of caddies the gossip from the Tour this week is that Adam Scott and Tony Navarro have parted ways after 8 years. Adam has got Mick Doran a British caddy on the bag and I will keep you up to speed on how that working relationship develops. Watched Adam putting with the broomstick putter and he looks good and is putting with heaps more confidence then previously.
Tomorrow the first round begins and I believe the winning score will be between 16 to 20 under depending on the weather.
Good Golfing from the Tour
David Milne from Colonial Country Club - Fort Worth Texas