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BOB WEST ON GOLF — New year brings new assets for Andrew Landry

Andrew Landry launches the 2021 portion of the PGA Tour this week in Hawaii with a second son on the way, a new putting coach in his corner and a new clothing endorsement that links him to CBS golf announcer Jim Nantz.

The son, a brother for two-year-old Brooks, is due in June. Landry will meet up in person with putting coach Marcus Potter for the first time two weeks hence as he tries to defend his American Express championship. Nantz’ Vineyard Vines clothing line will be on display Thursday in the first round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Finding a putting coach had been atop Landry’s list of things he needed to get accomplished after closing out 2020 with a tie for fourth at the RSM Classic in November. He finished only two shots behind the winner, despite being 44th in the field in strokes gained putting.

“I have to find a putting coach,” Landry said at the time. “My putting for the most part has been poor the last two years. If I had not putted so poorly in the RSM, I would have won. I need to find a guy who is around the tour a lot.”

After doing considerable reach, he settled on Potter, a 27-year-old from Portland whose stock is apparently soaring. The clincher was when a confidant of Tiger Woods told Andrew that Potter was one of a very few guys Tiger would even consider as a putting coach.

“Marcus is one of three guys out here all the time,” Landry said. “I won’t meet him until Palm Springs, but I sent him some video that he critiqued. I’ve started implementing some of the stuff he suggested after looking at the video and have rolled it pretty roll. I’m really looking forward to getting with him.”

Landry will be making his second start in the Tournament of Champions. His first appearance in 2019, following a 2018 victory in the Valero Texas Open, resulted in a tie for 22nd in a 32-player field. He shot five-under-par 287 on a Plantation Course that is more suited to guys who bomb it off the tee.

“The golf course is a little different,” he said. “You try to hit it as far as you can, but I have to stay within myself. I took some time off after the RSM but have been playing pretty well in Austin. One thing I did was watch the Golf Channel replay of my final round in winning the American Express and I think my swing is pretty close to where it was then.”

As for hooking up with Nantz’ Vineyard Vines, it came about after Oxford, which had been his clothing line for years, sold out. After considering a handful of options, Landry settled on Vineyard and has been extremely pleased.

Nantz even called him a couple of weeks ago and invited him to play his home course of Cypress Point during Pebble Beach week.

“We had a really good conversation,” Landry said. “I am pleased to be a part of their team. It would be so cool if I could win a tournament where Jim is doing the announcing.”

Nantz, whose name is also on a premium wine, The Calling, has been aware of Landry going back to the splash he made in the 2016 U.S. Open. Due to his long-time friendship with a certain golf writer from Port Arthur, he is also tuned in to his Pea Patch history and Chris Stroud.

“We are thrilled to have Andrew,” he said. “I have always appreciated his positive attitude, classy demeanor and sense of style. I am excited to have him as a brand ambassador. As someone who is passionate about the game, I am having a ball building an authentic golf brand.”

Landry, meanwhile, is looking at a busy January. After the TOC, he’ll make the short trek over to Honolulu to play the Sony Open next week, then head to Palm Springs and that title defense in the American Express.

There is one significant difference in the TOC than years past. Because COVID shut down the tour for over three months, which would seriously limited a field that is typically around 30 players, invitations were extended to guys who reached the Tour Championship but didn’t have a victory last season.

As a result, there are 42 players, including 14 of the top 20 in the Official World Golf Ratings. Landry starts the season No. 104 in the OWGR and No. 73 in Fed Ex Cup points.

CHIP SHOTS: In the Monday Senior 50 Plus 2 ball at Babe Zaharias, the team of James Vercher, Joe Gongora, Art Turner and Scott Bryant won the front with minus three. On the back, even par won for the foursome of Ted Freeman, Roddy Richards, John House and Dwayne Benoit . . .

The Saturday Super Senior 2 ball was played in a par 4 format due to wet conditions. The front was won with minus 9 by the team of Adam Noel, Earl Richard, Harry Green and Cole Lee. Minus 8 was a winner on the back for the team of Vercher, Troy Touchet, Bryant and Dan Harrington . . .

Wednesday’s Zaharias 2 ball was played in an all-points-count format. Placing first with 29 points was the team of Ron LaSalle, Touchet, Don MacNeil and Turner. Second with 23 points was the foursome of Gongora, Larry Johnson, Rick Pritchett and Glen Knight.

Closest to the pin winners were Ed Holley (No. 2), MacNeil (No. 7), James Trahan (No. 12) and Gerald Huebel (No.15).

Golf new should be e-mailed to rdwest@usa.net