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Mini-Me…Hogan's Alley Style

“I was torn between Dufner, Wagner, Pettersson and Harrington for this final spot, but in the end, decided to go with the defending champ instead.”

Famous last words from last week’s column. 

Yes, there Dufner’s name, right at the top of my short list…and I decided to overlook him.  Win some, lose some… stupid Derek!

What a remarkable month Jason Dufner has had! In that time, he’s earned his first PGA Tour victory, gotten married…and then won his second PGA Tour victory.  And the worst thing that’s happened to him was probably the wedding.

Should I apologize to all the hopeless romatics out there?  Nah…I didn’t think so.

 

Results – The Byron Nelson Championship

Derek’s Picks D&D (Daughter & Dartboard)
Matt Kuchar

T15

 $         107,250 Jason Bohn

T9

 $            156,000
Adam Scott

Cut

Stephen Gangluff

79

 $               11,830
Phil Mickelson

T7

 $         209,625 Louis Oosthuizen

Cut

Keegan Bradley

T24

 $            53,950 Tom Pernice Jr.

W/D

This Week’s Total  $            370,825 This Week’s Total  $               167,830
Season Total  $       15,327,806 Season Total  $            3,839,168

The Colonial

Q: When is Hogan’s Alley, not Hogan’s Alley?

A: When it’s the other Hogan’s Alley.

Last week, I waxed poetic about the namesake of the Byron Nelson Championship; the incredible “Lord” Byron Nelson.  He of the 11 consecutive PGA Tour victories, among many other amazing accomplishments.

This week, the Tour stays in Texas and moves from Irving to Fort Worth.  Everything might be big in Texas, except this migration…a mere 43 clicks. 

In terms of historical significance, the man most famously linked to the host golf course this week is just as big a legend as the man we honoured last week.  In fact, many would argue that he is an even bigger legend.

The names Ben Hogan and Colonial Country Club are forever etched together in the history books.  And while Riviera is more commonly known as “Hogan’s Alley,” Colonial also goes by that moniker…and likely has a stronger claim to it, if they had to settle the matter once and for all.  (By the way, just to be completely anal-retentive here, the FBI’s special tactical shooting range is also called “Hogan’s Alley,” but that has nothing to do with “The Hawk.”)

Since I regaled you with some of Lord Byron’s more amazing statistics last week, it’s only fair that I give Hogan the same respect and share some of the highlights of his career with you too:

          Hogan won a total of 68 professional tournaments, ranking 4th on the all-time victory list.

          He won 10 tournaments in the year 1948 alone

          Hogan won 9 Majors in his career, also ranking him 4th on the all-time Major list

          During his peak competitive years (1938-1951), in which he won 63 events, he left golf for 4 years to serve in the Second World War (1942-1945)

          Hogan was also absent from golf for an additional year (1949), recovering from a near-fatal, head-on car crash with a Greyhound Bus in February.  Hogan threw himself over his wife, to save her life…and saved his in the process (the steering column went through the driver’s seat of his car).  Hogan suffered a double fracture of the pelvis, a broken collar bone, broken ankle, chipped rib and deadly blood clots…and was told by doctors that he would probably never walk again.  Playing golf again was considered impossible.

          Hogan returned to the PGA Tour in time for the start of the 1950 season at Riviera.  Not only did he play in the event, and play competitively, he lost in an 18-hole playoff to Sam Snead in Los Angeles.  He went on to win his second US Open title later that year (the famous picture above is from that win at Merion).

          He is regarded by many experts as the best ball striker to ever play golf.  His famous golf instruction book, “Five Lessons; the Modern Fundamentals of Golf,” is one of the most widely-read golf books ever published…and is still considered to be required reading by many.  To this day it still ranks among the top-selling sports books annually.

An amazing man…an incredible story…a truly remarkable list of accomplishments.  And I’m sure the TV coverage will deservedly do him justice this weekend.

Derek’s Picks

Zach Johnson – Take a look at the recent records at this tournament and you’ll quickly discover that no other player has distinguished himself at Colonial as well, or consistently as Zach Johnson.

In the past three years he has finished 4th (2011), first (2010) and T9th (2009).  That, all by itself, pretty much makes Johnson a must-pick this week in Fort Worth.

On the downside, Johnson hasn’t won an event since 2010, but his recent T2 at The Player’s Championship and runner-up finish at the Heritage show strong signs of a full return to form.  Oh yes, that win back in 2010…the last one he earned, was right here at Colonial.

Add it all up and I like his chances of getting his hands on another jumbo stunt winner’s cheque this week.

Rickie Fowler – Win your first PGA Tournament…win your second one three weeks later.  If Jason Dufner can do it, why the hell can’t Fowler do it too?

It’s that kind of logical reasoning that kept me out of the best universities this country has to offer.

But still I say, “what the hell…why not?” 

Fowler has been on an absolute heater for the past month.  He finished T10 in New Orleans, earned his Tour victory at the Wells Fargo the following week, then finished T2 at the Player’s the week after that!

Following a week off for a little R&R (and hopefully to get fitted for some decent hats), Fowler returns to the tour this week at Colonial to try and better his T16 finish last year.

The way his month has been going, would you bet against him this week?  I’m not.

Hunter Mahan – A close, twisted look at Mahan’s season reveals a bit of a pattern…if you’re looking hard for one (and aren’t put together quite properly).

A great finish (T6), followed by two so-so finishes (T15 & T24)…followed by a great finish (1st)…followed by two so-so finishes (T24 & T42).

The only disruption to this pattern was when he won in Houston and then finished T12 at Augusta.  But then he promptly followed that up with two stinkers; T53 at the Wells Fargo and Cut at The Player’s.

Following this pattern to its illogical conclusion, he’s due this week when he tees it up in Fort Worth.

Oh, and to back up the voices screaming this in my head, he’s also done fairly well here too; finishing T10 last year.

Can you take this to the bank?  No.  If you’ve read more than three sentences of any column I’ve ever written you’ve come to realize that I’m not a person to be taken seriously.

Then again, I have successfully picked 8 winners out of 20 tournaments so far this season!  So ignore my insanity at your own peril.

Matt Kuchar – I took him last week and although he didn’t earn a win, his T15 finish at The Nelson was pretty respectable…especially considering he’d just come off the biggest, toughest win of his life at The Player’s the week before.

I’m taking him again this week too…despite the voices tell me that he must be fried by now.

Kuchar has racked up a pretty amazing string of stats so far this season.  Five top 10 finishes in his last 8 events, including that win.  Add two top 15s to that stat, just to make it even more impressive.

Okay, he hasn’t exactly lit up the course at this event in years past (T16 last year, T27 in 2009), but I still like him to do well this week in Fort Worth…and maybe even become the next multi-event winner of the season.

And now that I’ve had my say, let’s see how daughter managed to do this week in the basement.

D&D’s Picks (Daughter & Dartboard):

  •   Vijay Singh
  •   Johnson Wagner
  •   Charlie Wi
  •   Y.E. Yang

Damn…you know I really like the look of those picks.  Gulp!

And that’s all for this week folks.  As always, thanks VERY much for reading and playing along with my silliness…and enjoy the tournament!

Cheers,

Derek

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