It turns out that Waialae Country Club will stay on the list of courses where Steve Williams has never worked. Williams will return to New Zealand for a big auto race this weekend and thus he won’t be working Adam Scott’s bag at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
The Sony Open, of course, is one of those tournaments Tiger Woods never took part in, and Scott hasn’t played it since he joined with Williams in 2011. It would have been interesting to see Williams at work at an unfamiliar golf course – especially one that presents such intriguing shots – but, alas, racing got in the way.
Scott will employ a longtime friend who happens to be hanging out with him on this Hawaiian swing.
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WOULD YOU LIKE WINE WITH YOUR 3-WOOD? Extra weight is the last thing a caddie wants in the golf bag when traversing the massive elevation changes of the Plantation Course. Yet, there was Kip Henley trying to figure our why Brian Gay’s bag seemed heavier than usual.
Playing a PGA Tour event for the first time since the Mayakoba Classic in late November, Gay checked his bag and then Henley did also. It still felt heavier so Henley checked again, this time unzipping a pocket he hadn’t previously looked at. He discovered a bottle of wine.
“A red cabernet,” Henley said.
As luck would have it, Gay’s wife, Kimberly, was walking along in the gallery, so she took the wine to lighten Henley’s load. Fitting, too, because Kimberly had been the one to put the wine in there, last November when they were packing to leave the Mayakoba.
“It was good wine, and obviously it was in a safe place and in good hands,” she said.
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GMAC ON HIS ‘A’ GAME: Reacting to the news that he had been voted to receive an award by the Golf Writers Association of America for accessibility and cooperation with the media, Graeme McDowell pretty much hit it out of the park and validated why he won the honor.
“I fully appreciate how tough the industry has become for our media colleagues in recent years, since the advent of the digital and social media age,” McDowell said. “Yet our golf writers have continued to travel the globe promoting everything that is great about the game of golf.
“Their hard work and dedication to their craft is hugely appreciated by myself and my fellow players around the world.”
Ought to be bulletin-board material in every PGA Tour locker room.
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FANCY MEETING YOU HERE: Maui isn’t exactly the halfway point between Chicago and the Marshall Islands, but, hey . . . it’s Maui. You can’t blame Bryan Rusin and his folks for making it work.
That Rusin’s rendezvous with family members coincided with a chance to have an impromptu high school reunion with Kevin Streelman made the trip to Kapalua even sweeter for Rusin, a native of the Chicago area who played college golf at the University of Illinois. More than a year ago, Rusin and his wife and young daughter moved from Illinois to the Marshall Islands in the northern Pacific, where he took a teaching job at the Majuoro Cooperative School.
When his parents, who still live in Illinois, proposed a holiday meeting place, it was easy for Rusin to settle on a location. All of them are friendly with Mike Jones, the director of golf at the Kapalua Golf Resort and an Illinois guy, also, and so they made the trips – the parents coming from more than 4,000 miles, Rusin and his wife and daughter from about 2,500.
“Good deal for me,” Rusin said, though it got even better when he discovered that Streelman was in the field. They played on the golf team at Wheaton Warrenville South High School in Wheaton, Ill., with Streelman a year ahead of Rusin. Both went on to impressive colleges – Illinois and Duke.
“It was great to see him,” said Streelman, who couldn’t remember if he had run into Rusin since high school. But the two of them and their parents joined Jones for dinner and Streelman was intrigued by his high school friend’s present occupation and locale.
“How cool is that?” asked Streelman, who conceded he wasn’t quite sure where the Marshall Islands are (roughly halfway between Maui and Australia). “But they catch their own dinner right from the ocean. It’s a nice story.”
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RECALLING A GRAND MAN: Occasionally there comes the chance to take a break from the PGA Tour and visit a story that reminds you what is so glorious about this game we love so much. A reminder of that arrived recently with word that William “Sarge” Walsh had passed away at the age of 91 on Dec. 18.
Let’s race a glass of cheer, for he was a genuine treasure.
In May of 2012, Walsh was featured in Golfweek’s amateur edition as one who had devoted so much of his life to golf – from years of competitive play to a stint as president of the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) to devoted fund-raising efforts on behalf of the J. Wood Platt Scholarship Fund.
That he loved golf was clear, only the game ranked well behind his other passions – his wife, Barbara, his daily trips to church (years earlier, he had entertained thoughts of being a priest), and their 15 children.
Repeat, 15, and when he sat for that story, William Walsh insisted on naming them all, though with a smile he begged for patience.
That the seven boys (Michael, Matthew, Timmy, Danny, Brendan, Chet, and Andrew) were also golf enthusiasts and the eight girls (Stephanie, Minna, Bridget, Monica, Tez, Hilary, Moira, and Lexy) were swimmers are testaments to Walsh’s belief in the value of sports in a young person’s life. But clearly, his love was golf – and what he took the most pride in was the multitude of GAP father-son titles he won with four different sons.
Like his father, Chet Walsh played golf at Villanova. Later he served a stint as ‘Nova’s head golf coach. Brendan Walsh is the well-respected head professional at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
As young boys, Chet and Brendan and their five brothers all had a standing offer from their father, who was a member at both Philadelphia CC and the iconic Pine Valley. The boys could play Pine Valley, but “they had to break 90 at Philadelphia CC – and they had to get a haircut.”
Even at 90, William Walsh played golf – summers in Philadelphia, winters at Tequesta CC in Florida – and championed all the virtues of the game. Let the record show, he served golf well.