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Sep 21

How Many Syllables in Championship?

The Tour Championship and The Navistar Championship

As we expected, things are going white hot over at the Fed Ex Cup Tour Championship. We know it’s an important event, because it’s referring to itself as merely, The Tour Championship. All right, why let the British have all the fun? This is the crowning moment for the Fed-Ex Cup. As I looked over the leaderboard, I thought that I had discovered some ancient magical word play, known only to the Sumerians. In what was supposed to be the Intimidation Bowl in a duel to the death between Tiger and Mr. McIlroy, all the leaders had two-syllable names, names good for cheering – Ti-ger (shot a 66 today), Jus-tin (Rose, that is, also a 66), Pier-cy (that will gain ring as we know him better). And, Ro-ry is three back with a 69, not to be counted out at all. Phil’s doing all right, I guess, but he just didn’t have enough syllables today.

Since it was obvious that this tournament will get a lot hotter by the weekend, and that I should write about it when we get to the big finish, I went over to the LPGA’s Navistar Classic to see how the ladies were doing. Last year, phenom Lexi Thompson won this event. What was she…about ten? Ok, that’s hyperbole, but she was pretty young, and what’s more impressive is that she’s winning it again this year, so far. I frankly don’t think she’s very intimidated, either, shooting a nine under 63 in a bogeyless round.



The other wonderful thing that’s happening is that the recently emerging Lizette Salas is tied for second with Hee Young Park. Lizette has been making a lot of cuts, and sneaking up on the leaderboard of late. Maybe it’s her week to blow it wide open. I thought I’d found the same magical wordplay on the leaderboard at Navistar as well – Le-xi, Li-zette, Hee-Young. It didn’t work out, though. Of the entire list of players, about ninety percent have two-syllable names, and not all of them are going to make the cut. I need to get a life, I guess.

Where the Navistar is being played, however, only needs one syllable – wow! The magnificent setting for this week’s drama is The RTJ Golf Trail, the Senator Course in Prattville, Alabama. Now, here’s how it works. Alabama has put together eleven amazing golf courses in eleven sites all around Alabama, and if you missed it and hate acronyms like I do, RTJ is Robert Trent Jones – the man. The RTJ Golf Trail is the most ambitious touring plan ever devised in the game of golf. It can get hot and more than a little humid in Alabama, but it can also get gorgeous, and every one of these courses is a jewel, growing out of the land’s authentic personality.

Begin in Muscle Shoals, and play The Shoals – then over to Huntsville to play Hampton Cove, or perhaps down to Silver Lakes, Oxmoor Valley and Ross Bridge a little west of Birmingham. Not too long a drive, and you’re a little northwest of Montgomery oohing and aahing over Capitol Hill. Go east to Opelika and play the Grand National, a course that lives up to its name. Swing down to Mobile for a round at Magnolia, one more in Point Clear in Lakewood, and you’ve done the old South’s magical golf tour. Any further, and you’re in the gulf. As usual with these dream courses, they’ve made the sand and water both gorgeous and threatening.

I guess there’s no wordplay conspiracy after all. Alabama has four syllables, and deserves every one of them for the wonder they’ve put together. At Fed-Ex and Navistar, be prepared to watch the best golf played on the planet. Re-cli-ner has three syllables.

 

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About the author

G.F. Skipworth

has spent every available moment playing golf or studying the greats since the 60s, in between world tours as a classical musician, Harvard studies in Government or as the author of a dozen novels. Nicklaus and Snead may be the statistical greats, but Skipworth is a life-long devotee of Gary Player, and considers meeting the South African at the Jeld-Wen to be an unforgettable milestone. His driving passion in golf these days is to raise viewer interest in the LPGA.