BOB WEST ON GOLF: gives way to Korn Ferry

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, June 26, 2019

What started in 1990 as the Ben Hogan Tour, then became the Nike Tour in 1993 and, for the past eight years was the Tour, is now the Korn Ferry Tour.

Other names for the stepping stone to the PGA Tour were the Tour (2000-2002) and the Nationwide Tour (2003-2012).

In case you missed the news, and it was easy to do, the latest name change for professional golf’s highest minor league circuit came out of the blue last week.

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The Tour, which had a contract through 2021, was shanked into golf history by a new deal with a Los Angeles management and consulting firm.

All this is relevant here because the Tour twice paved the way for PNG ex Andrew Landry to reach the PGA Tour. Landry won events in Colombia in 2015 and the Bahamas in 2017. That enabled him to finish among the top 25 money winners during those years and gain an automatic promotion to golf’s major leagues.

West Orange-Stark ex Michael Arnaud was also a Tour winner in 2018, although the victory was not enough to propel him into the top 25.

Arnaud, as well as Lamar exes M.J. Daffue and Dawie van der Walt, was competing on the when it became the Korn Ferry. None of the trio appears to have much chance of getting into this year’s top 25.

The best Southeast Texas candidate to become the first Korn Ferry player to reach the PGA Tour may be PNG ex Braden Bailey. Bailey, a recent Baylor
graduate who won two tournaments and had numerous top tens for the Bears, is
prepping for the Korn Ferry Q school by playing the Mackenzie PGA Tour in

Meanwhile, I’m making the over/under on Korn Ferry’s golf life span as five years. About the time everyone gets used to checking out the Korn Ferry Tour, a new name will be in play. But it’s all good because of the opportunity being provided for the dazzling array of young golf talent pouring out of colleges.
Most of them could care less about the name as long as there is a tour helping prepare them to take the next step.

Frank Jackson of Nederland continued the run on holes in one last Thursday at Babe Zaharias. Jackson sank a 9-iron from 108 yards on the 15th hole. Witnesses were Mark Roccaforte, Thad Borne and Johnny Arenas …

Chuck Miller lives in Arkansas and has probably never played at Babe Zaharias, but his hole in one last week merits a mention in this space. Actually, that should have read holes-in-one.

Miller, 81, scored two aces within six holes — the 135-yard, 12th and the 138-yard, 17th at the Cortez Course in Hot Springs. Until that fateful day, Miller had made exactly one ace some 45 years ago in California.

He used a 6-iron for both of the aces at Hot Springs, calling the first one a near-perfect shot and the second one a “skull job” that hit 70 or 80 yards short of the green and rolled all the way into the cup.

Yes, folks, it’s a crazy game …

PNG and Lamar ex Chris Stroud’s woes continued last week at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut. Stroud, on rounds of 69-74, missed his
seventh consecutive cut in an individual stroke play event. That dropped him
to No. 111 in Fed Ex points with six tournaments left in which he can secure
his PGA Tour card for 2020 by finishing in the top 125 …

Andrew Landry didn’t miss the cut in the Travelers, but may have walked away feeling like he did. The PNG and Arkansas ex, after a third round 65 rocketed him into a tie for 10th, closed with a 74 and fell into a tie for 43rd. He collected a check for $21,924 and is now No. 167 in FedEx points.

Both Stroud and Landry are playing in this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic as the PGA Tour returns to Detroit …

The team of Kaycee Begaman, Bim Morrow, Paul Flores and Robert Lynch scored a sweep in the Super Saturday 2-ball at Babe Zaharias. They won the front with minus-3 and the back with minus-2 …

In the Friday 2-ball at Zaharias, the team of Russ Gloede, Joe Gongora, Rusty Hicks and Roger Baumer won the front with minus-2. On the back, the foursome of Keith Mullins, Earl Richard, Dillard Darbonne and Ron Mistrot claimed the top spot with minus-5. …

The Wednesday Zaharias DogFight saw a tie for first with 16 points. Posting that number was the team of Rick Pritchett, Jeff Rinehart, Baumer and Tommy Duhon and the foursome of Ed Holley, Adam Noel, Keith Marshall and Dan Flood.

Closest to the pin winners were Don Duplan (No. 2), Glynn Judice (No. 7), Flood (No. 12) and Richard Menchaca (No. 15) …

Tuesday’s 2 ball at Zaharias saw the team of Bill Hammond, Noel, Lee Bertrand and Baumer take the front with minus 4. On the back, there was a three-way tie at even between teams captained by Calvin Landry, Richard and Raymond Darbonne …

Last week’s lead item in the golf column focused on Amy Bockerstette, the amazing 20-year-old from Phoenix with Down Syndrome who was Gary Woodland’s inspiration in winning the U.S. Open. Bockerstette’s 15 minutes of fame seems to be ongoing.

Amy and her family appeared on the Today show last Monday, and Woodland surprised by joining them on set in a true “feel good” moment. The next night Amy threw out the first pitch at the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game, wearing a jersey with her now famous mantra “I Got This” on the back.

She apparently had never thrown a baseball but after three days of intense training managed to one-hop it to the plate.

Bockerstette’s recent high profile has resulted in a spike for Down Syndrome donations. It also is a reminder of the rescheduled Groves Knights of Columbus/Fetters Center Scramble which is set for Saturday at Babe Zaharias.

Rest assured the late Jimmy Fetters, who was so active in Down Syndrome through the Estelle and Allan Fetters Center for Challenged Adults in Groves, would have loved the Bockerstette story. It’s not hard to envision Jimmy trying to arrange for Amy to play in the tournament.

Not a bad idea, really, for the folks at the Fetters Center to pursue for next year.

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