BOB WEST ON GOLF — PGA Tour nice guys, trivia, Nantz, more aces

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, December 28, 2022

For the final golf column of 2022, thanks in part to the cold, wet weather that has considerably restricted play at Babe Zaharias, we’re going to take a bit of a different approach.

Hopefully, it doesn’t come off as that most dreaded golf word – a shank.

So here goes. We’re going to open with a couple of trivia questions, throw in a noteworthy observation on announcers from one of the game’s most respected writers, circle back to last week’s hole-in-one topic, then dish out the only chip shot in the bag.

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Ok, here are the trivia questions. In the Christmas spirit, I’ll even provide multiple choices. The correct answers will be revealed toward the end of the column.

Question No. 1 concerns Golf Digest’s recently published survey on the nicest guys on the PGA Tour.

Believe it or not, there are some real jackasses out there. To make readers aware of the truly nice guys who go out of their way to make others feel good, the editors polled 120 players, caddies, media members, golf executives, locker room attendants and tournament volunteers.

So here are your choices as to who wound up No. 1. A: Jordan Spieth. B: Rory McIlroy, C: Tony Finau. D: Collin Morikawa.

Question No. 2 concerns the 14 players who have earned more than $10 million on the PGA Tour without winning a single tournament. What I am looking for is the name of the guy who is at the top of that list with $17,310,004 in career earnings and no championship trophies.

The choices on that question are A: Tommy Fleetwoord. B: Briny Baird. C: Harold Varner III D: Cameron Tringale.

Moving on, I want to give a shout out to my good friend Jim Nantz of CBS sports. Golf Digest’s John Hawkins published his list of the top 10 golf broadcasters, and Nantz was the no-brainer winner. Hawkins, however, took it a step further and labeled Jim the Greatest Sportscaster Ever.

A hearty amen to that for the guy who in 1988 came to Port Arthur to be the emcee of the first Jimmy Johnson roast.

Hawkins’ No. 2, and I’m all in on that pick, was Brandel Chamblee of the Golf Channel. Chamblee, like Johnny Miller, rubs a lot of people the wrong way, but his tell-it-like-it-is style is something golf needs. The ringer on Hawkins’ list, by the way, was Charles Barkley at No.8.

Now, back to last week. Regular readers will remember that I listed what my records showed to be all the players who made holes in one in 2022. There was also an escape clause saying I might have left somebody out and, if so, I would mention them this week.

Sorry for overlooking you, Durky Hardin of Port Arthur and Lonnie Mosley of Nederland. Hardin bagged what was his first hole-in-one June with a 6-iron from 148 yards on No. 2. Mosley also authored his first with a 9-iron from 120-yards on No. 7.

The big hole-in-one news in the last seven days, however, was Johnny Page of Vidor struck again. Page, who was saluted in last week’s column for his April ace on No. 2, got his second of 2022 last Thursday on No. 7.

He swung an 8-iron from 120-yards. Witnesses were Mike Jones and James Shipley. That was hole-in-one No. 6 for Page and matched Wadsworth Thompson of Groves for the only player with more than one ace at Zaharias this past year.

All total then, barring somebody else who managed to get overlooked, there was a grand total of only eight aces reported at Zaharias in 2022. Page and Thompson accounted for half of them.

 And now back to trivia. If you said Tony Finau was voted Golf Digest’s nicest guy on the PGA Tour, you got it right. Here’s what was said about Finau.

Well-known for his ever-present smile and being generous with his time. Says Finau, “If I have a conversation with a person, and I leave thinking I’ve brightened their day just a little bit somehow, that makes me happy.”

Past winners were Steve Stricker (2013), Spieth (2017) and Rickie Fowler (2019). Following Finau in the 2022 top five were Peter Malnati, Spieth, McIlroy and Rickie Fowler.

As for the player who has won the most money ($17,310,004) on the PGA Tour without a victory, the answer is Tringale. He’s followed by Fleetwood ($14,299,219), Brian Davis ($13,382,405), Baird ($13,251,178) and Jeff Overton ($12,790,635).

CHIP SHOT: In the lone competition of the past week, contested last Thursday in a par 4-format, the team of Keith Mullins, Ted Freeman, Rufus Reyes and Stewart Ellis scored a sweep. They won the front with minus 11 and the back with minus 12.

Bob West can be e-mailed at rdwest@usa.net.