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May 30

A Week for Classic Golf

PGA and LPGA having Classic Golf Time

The term “classic” can be used to describe something that is very old and revered, or it could mean something terribly unusual, perhaps something utterly out of the ordinary, and finally, something that is just truly excellent. It can also mean “typical,” but nothing of that sort is happening on either the PGA or LPGA Tours this week.

Over on the men’s side, we can start with Byron Nelson himself. If Nelson wasn’t a classic, who could be? The tournament is a classic by dint of the name alone, and it is up to players accomplishing special feats to make it even more of one – and they very often oblige. Even though 12 players withdrew before the opening of the Nelson, the scoring has not been a disappointment. There’s not much of “If they were only here, the scores would be a lot lower.” I don’t think they would be.  Stephen Bowditch is in at minus 13, and I think that anyone would enjoy that sort of score, regardless of their fame.
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IRVING, TX - MAY 29:  Grounds crew staff work to remove standing water on the 17th hole after heavy rains delayed Round Two of the AT&T Byron Nelson at the TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas on May 29, 2015 in Irving, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

IRVING, TX – MAY 29: Grounds crew staff work to remove standing water on the 17th hole after heavy rains delayed Round Two of the AT&T Byron Nelson at the TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas on May 29, 2015 in Irving, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Adding to the classic atmosphere of the Nelson, there is another pattern going on in Texas that fits into the “out of the ordinary,” courtesy of Mother Nature. With the third round ending up, I fear that we might actually lose Texas, in the style of Atlantis. That would be a lot of golf, steak, and football gone in a series of Biblical weather events that has prompted a course design change that turns #14 into a 100 yard par 4. Just think, how many par 4s have you ever played with a wedge from the tee? It smacks of the “course design” my brother and I exercised as children. The indoor course wound its way through several rooms of the house, and the outside course was just bizarre – that’s all that can be said of it. This, however, is that kind of classic, just like we produced.
Shop www.edwinwattsgolf.comTo say that the Nelson has experienced bad weather is a gross understatement. Anything that can turn a par 4 into a one hundred yard hole has got to be serious, and indeed, the “standing water” on some of the fairways looks a whole lot worse than merely “standing.” Some of what might laughingly be called puddles would work as a good snorkeling spot, and someone had better make sure that there are no aquatic predators in there.

morganIn terms of the LPGA, playing the Shoprite in Galloway, New Jersey, at the Stockton Hotel and Golf Club, things aren’t overtly classical. It looks like a normal week, except that (has anyone noticed this?) Morgan Pressel is back again, threatening to win. Her play has been classic in the excellent category, and I’ve always considered her a classic on tour, simply because she’s one of the most un-cookie cutterish members in the industry. Even her name is a classic. I always dreamed of driving an antique Morgan, a fine classic automobile, a wish that has so far eluded me. Pressel fits the quality comparison, although she isn’t classical in the antique sense, however it might appear to the teen whiz kids. Morgan is the name of famous pirates, actors, race horses and fine whiskey. Trust me, she knows what she’s doing.
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I hope that someone will ask Pressel what happened, what switch got thrown that got her interior winner interested in challenging for the lead again. I haven’t a clue, but it’s fun to see her come out of a recent oblivion that didn’t really fit in with her considerably high talent level.

As we watch the final rounds of these two odd and “classic” events, it seems appropriate to wish everyone out there a classic week, that is, in the excellent sense.

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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.