Sunday wrapped up another year of volunteering at the Valero Texas Open, and I have to admit, as of right now I don’t know if I will return next year for a third year. Next year’s tournament is a long ways off so maybe I will change my mind by then, but we’ll wait and see.
Just to quickly recap, I was on the NBC/Golf Channel Broadcast Committee. What this means is I am assigned to a group to walk with and after each hole, I radio back to the TV truck to confirm the players scores. It’s a pretty cool gig.
On Sunday, I was assigned to the final group of Steven Bowditch, Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe, and boy was it an adventure. Bowditch started the day as the front man with a 3 shot lead over Kuchar and Loupe. It quickly went south after the first tee shots.
Matt Kuchar was my pick prior to pick up the victory prior to the round. I just thought he was the veteran of the group and the other two would falter while Kuchar hovered around even par for the day and put on the Valero Texas Open boots. Kuchar shot an even par 36 on the front 9 with one birdie and one bogey. Making the turn, Kuchar and Bowditch were tied for the lead at 9-under. But on the back 9, Kuchar was not able to sustain his good front 9 play and ended up with three bogeys, to end the day at 6-under.
Andrew Loupe on the other hand never really had a chance after a front 9 that included three bogeys and one double bogey. Add in a birdie on the par-4 2nd hole and Loupe made the turn at 4-over for the day and sitting four back of the leaders. Loupe’s back 9 was a little better and he was able to pick up one birdie on the par-3 13th hole, but he was never able to pick up any more for the rest of the round and ended the day at 6-under overall for the tournament.
Steven Bowditch shot a 4-over 76 in the final round of the Valero Texas Open. It’s not very often you see a player shooting over par, much less 4-over par, in the final round to win a PGA Tour event. But Bowditch pulled it off and scrambled his way around the golf course to pick up his first victory. If you are a golfer looking to improve your game, take a look at Bowditch’s final round and tell me that chipping is not important. He was all over the course but was able to get up and down all week long.
The big story of the day was the pace of play. Loupe got put on the clock after teeing off on the 7th hole, after he had yanked his tee shot at least 40 yards off line. As mentioned above, I was walking with the group and was very close to Loupe when the official intercepted him as he was walking to the green and told him he was being timed. The problem is, it didn’t seem to phase him. He just shook his head and raised his hand like “WTH.” I did not see any pep in his step for the remainder of the hole.
They played in 5 hours and 32 minutes, which is ridiculous for PGA Tour pros playing in threesomes. Something needs to be done and the one thing that seems to be the consensus is to start enforcing the rules, which means handing out strokes for slow play.