Football season was in the air as Pro-Am kicked off Wednesday’s Charles Schwab Invitational at the Colonial in brisk 50-degree temperatures and a wind chill rarely seen in May.
When was the last time I had to buy a sweatshirt for the tournament at the Colonial? The answer is never, late spring in North Texas is what it is.
Speaking of football season, an interesting juxtaposition to consider: when new TCU coach Sonny Dykes played his last hole at No. 9 just after 1 p.m., former TCU coach Gary Patterson started his round at the No. 10 tee, only a few meters apart.
The two have not met since Dyke’s hiring in the final days of November.
“We didn’t get a chance to cross paths,” Dykes said after Wednesday’s round against pros Carlos Ortiz and Rory Sabbatini. (The pros only played nine holes.)
That will most likely happen coincidentally this weekend at another golf tournament the two play every year, Dykes said, adding that he expects nothing but cordiality.
“I’m sure we’ll catch up,” Dykes said. “It’s remarkable what he’s done here. We were lucky to come in here where he left off.”
Dykes’ golf game isn’t all that bad. On his final hole, he hooked his drive into the rough and struggled to get out. He wedged into the green that settled about 10 feet from the hole. He tapped in his putt for bogey.
“My game is terrible but it was fun,” Dykes said, and his wife Kate interjected that he “played pretty well today.”
“Yes, I had two birdies. I had a nice time. What a fantastic event. The weather couldn’t have been better.”
The round was Dykes’ first full 18 in the Colonial. He said he has a handicap of 15.
In addition to his wife, his son Daniel, 5, also ran the course.
“It will be fun when I can go out and play with him,” the coach said of his son. “I’ll be more inclined to do it.”
Dykes said he would like to see Jordan Spieth do well this week. He’s a Spieth fan.
Spieth has a plaid jacket, the winner of this 2016 tournament, but he’s bleeding orange. He’s excited about the TCU coaching change, especially considering Patterson has moved south to Austin to become an assistant and advisor to Texas coach Steve Sarkisian.
When asked about Patterson, Spieth answered like any good longhorn.
“I’ve always enjoyed being with Coach,” Spieth said, “and most of the time it was his showing off about his win against Texas. Obviously we have [athletic director Chris] So is Del Conte now and it feels like we just poached the best assets TCU had and hopefully that will lead to success in Austin.
There could be a Horned Frog this week hoping it lands on the left at No. 5 on Thursday. (That’s not me, mind you. We’re all Jordan Spieth fans.)
“He’s a great football coach and can only help the Horns. It would be really exciting if one of those years we could push our capabilities to the fullest.”
Spieth plays well on the golf course. He won at RBC Heritage on Easter Sunday despite not putting well. He was second at the Byron Nelson two weeks ago. At the PGA Championship, he ended up in midfield.
“I felt like I putted the best thing I’ve putted this year last week and it just doesn’t show in the stats. But it was the most free flowing shots I’ve ever had and I feel like I made a lot of really good progress on the greens.”
If he putts well, put Spieth in as a favorite in Hogan’s Alley.
And then Aggie came into the bar.
Fort Worth is Aggieland North, the Aggies tell us, what with all the plans they have downtown, with a new law school, research and nursing school buildings. The south end of downtown will be maroon and white.
Ryan Palmer, a proud Aggie, laughed almost until his stomach hurt when he heard that Fort Worth had a new nickname: “Aggieland North”.
“I hadn’t heard that before, but it’s great to hear that,” said Palmer, a member of the Colonial Country Club. “Everywhere I go I see more and more Aggies, which is great.”
Palmer, too, had heard about the altercation between Alabama soccer coach Nick Saban and Texas A&M soccer coach Jimbo Fisher. Saban told some boosters that Jimbo’s top recruit class this year was bought entirely through the affordability law known as “NIL.” College athletes can now sign financial deals using their name, likeness, and likeness, and according to some (most?), some boosters are getting creative when it comes to helping their favorite colleges recruit ballplayers.
Saban’s comments created something of a storm that we don’t write about Fort Worth Magazine Hometown. Jimbo called Saban a narcissist, adding that Saban not only recruited six national championship teams over the past 12 years just because he guaranteed books and tuition, but also because of his good looks and charm.
Suffice it to say, Palmer is firmly in Jimbo’s corner.
“Good for Jimbo that he stood up and stood up to what was said. Whatever A&M does in recruiting, nobody else does anything else.
“Maybe Saban is still bitter because he was beaten last year [by A&M]. I’m excited to see [Jimbo] face him. I’m all on Jimbo’s side.”
This is how you throw a high, hard golf ball past your ear.
For the record, on another sideline at the Charles Schwab Invitational is Justin Thomas, newly crowned PGA champion and proud Alabaman. It’s for Nick.
Kick-off for this golf tournament is bright and early on Thursday at 7:20am
See you then, Fort Worth. You may need to have your head on a swivel.