So I finally got an iPhone, and as much as I like it, I’m astonished by the quality of the photos it takes. I say “it,” because there are no settings. It’s all automatic. This is the first photo I took with it, today, on 6th Street. The only Photoshop work done here was to cut the file size in half. Incredible. Those people there at Apple may just have a future in computers and stuff.
But this guy does not. In fact, Jhonattan Vegas will be one of the best golfers to ever play the game. I’ve played with great golfers (Brian Bateman, Bill Rogers, Joe Ogilvie, Wes Short, Brian Gay, Omar Uresti, Bob Estes, Tony Jacklin, Steve Stricker and a bunch of great players you’ve never heard of), but I’m not sure any of them have or had the potential this guy has. I know Coach Royal said something like, “potential just means you ain’t done it yet,” and he’s right. JV here ain’t won the US Open or the Masters yet or a whole bunch of majors, but he will. Why? Because he has a rare combination of power, finesse, desire, intellect and attitude. He’s extremely likable. He’s kind, funny, smart, authentic and plays golf on a completely different level than 99% of everyone else. I’m not sure what he shot yesterday out at UT Golf Club, where we played in their 2009 Pro-Pro-Scratch-Scratch with UTGC’s Corey Lundberg and Longhorn golf team junior Bobby Hudson (who’s also a terrific player, genuinely kind man and UTGC course record holder), but JV played the game with confidence, power, talent and intellect. And he played like a kid, having fun the whole time. I could write a good-size book about the few hours I spent with this guy. He finished 63rd on the Nationwide Tour money list, which means he’ll be back there playing the 2011 season, unless he makes it through Q-School. He’s playing in China in a couple of weeks for his home country (Venezuela) in the World Cup. (This shot of him was taken four years ago at the 2005 Austin Men’s City Championship at Morris Williams GC.)
You heard me. So go see this handsome fella here. Yep, that’s Chuck Cook, and he has joined the instruction team out at UT Golf Club. I watched him give some tips to the boys there on how to use all that technology they have out there, and it was a sublime combination of technology, experience, hard work, intelligence and simplicity. I wanted to put down the Nikon and get strapped in. But I prefer to play the game instead of study the nuances of my golf swing. At least right now. The minute I make a bunch of putts and shoot 80 is when I head out Quinlan Park Road and hang on to Chuck’s pantsleg until he agrees to diagnose me.
I’ve been out at UT Golf Club shooting their ‘Texas Legends” Invitational. The golf course really looks good, but it’s the club that impresses me every time I go out there. Those guys know what a club is supposed to be. The thought and effort that goes into their events is the best I’ve ever seen. Anywhere.
That’s how many times I released the shutter on my D3 this weekend. Most of it out at UT Golf Club for the 2009 Orange & White Cup Matches. The White Team prevailed this year, squaring the matches at 2-2 in its fourth year. Most of the time when I’m out shooting golf, I want to be playing instead. Today, not so. The wind was howling (and gusting), it was cold, and the greens were running faster than porcelain. Time and again, I watched very good players make very large numbers. I did see some great shots, though. Jay Legg’s cut 8-iron from 121 on 13 to 4 feet. Rusty Kennedy’s tee shot on 4. Graham Turney’s approach to 15. Jean-Paul Hebert holed one out from the cart path on 18 to win his match. Here’s a shot of the final group coming up the 18th hole.
The 2009 Orange & White Cup Matches got underway yesterday out at UT Golf Club with Foursomes (alternate shot) matches. Yesterday’s weather and course conditions were designed for golf. 70 degrees, sunny, slight wind, greens rolling fast and true. Those guys there studying a putt on the third green are two of Austin’s finest amateurs, Greg Meserole and Steven Bright. Today’s format is Fourball (best ball), and the Cup matches will wrap up on Sunday with Singles play.
A few guys from the golf staff at UT Golf Club on the 18th tee. This hole, in my opinion, is the best closing hole in the Austin area. And all the times I’ve played bogeyed it, I always thought to peel a draw off that right fairway bunker. GM Steve Termeer (there in the white cap) says no. The correct line is at the left bunker. Who knew? I guess it pays to listen to a good player.
There’s no telling how much this one cost Corey Lundberg, assistant pro at UT Golf Club, when it slid by the left edge. But the one that didn’t get away was the 2008 Southern Texas PGA Assistant Professional of the Year award. Corey will give his acceptance speech at the President’s Dinner at Royal Oaks in Houston sometime next month. With no disrespect intended toward past recipients, they gave it to the right guy this year. A throwback pro, this guy is. I’m sure the members at UTGC know what a good man they’ve got there. Congrats, Corey.
Here’s a shot of the 9th green and approach area out at UT Golf Club. This hole has dozens of great photographs just waiting to be captured. It’s a great par-5, too. Big, bending, well-bunkered with a small green. The only thing I don’t like is that it looks like the safe play is left of the green. Not so. There’s a big shaved collection area over there that’s a fairly tough up-and-down. At least for someone with the yips me.