By Will Martin
It goes without saying that the golf world will need some time to heal and deal with the loss of the passing of Golfer and TV analyst Ken Venturi. His work ethic and his legacy are beyond safe. The 17 minute tribute CBS ran to lead off yesterdays telecast tells you all you need to know about the measure of a man.
For the second time in three years I was privileged to be able to sit behind the camera work of David Finch. Long time guru Rickey Blaine has retired since 2011.
Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo were five yards away to my left. The mood in the tower was very somber. It got more emotional as the afternoon wore on.
Through three rounds Keegan Bradley was carrying the mantle of being the wire to wire leader. Had he finished the trek this day he would have been the first since Tom Watson did so in 1980.
Sadly, against some tough winds and the like Bradley would fall short to a young man who had never won a tournament in America. Allow me to back track.
Every once in a while I get a mind blurb, a tangent, something from way out in left field. It was noon today when I was seated next to Mr. Finch and one of his assistants for CBS Sports and made a weird observation over breakfast. It was something I would repeat to Juan Garcia not long after.
‘Gentlemen, for what it’s worth I just had a crazy thought. Ken Venturi was a man from the area of San Francisco. I seem to recall that there is a city near there called Half Moon Bay. This is just a gut feeling but with the passing of Mr. Venturi less than 48 hours would it be too far off base to see a playoff with Keegan Bradley and Sang-Moon Bae? Just for kicks I’ll also add Charl Schwartzel into the mix just because I have a sense about all this…’
Juan laughed and nodded. David Finch smiled and said nothing. I finished my coffee and headed out into the windy Texas outdoors. Like clockwork with the early lead Keegan Bradley began Round 4 would quickly dissipate as Bae got three birdies in a row on the front nine. Keegan kept close even after a bogey on #9 for Sang-Moon. Guess who handled the wind with no problems at all and shot into 3rd? Mr. Schwartzel!
I should have invested in a PowerBall ticket from the night before…
The winds were more fierce than Saturday. Many golfers had struggles. So much so that John Daly and Angel Cabrera did not take time to talk to the media. The crowd grew larger and larger as the afternoon wound down. On to #18 were Bradley and Bae. Keegan hit a miserable tee shot near the rocks by the water on the left on 18. A flop shot then a chip onto the green still had him a good 10-15 feet away from the pin two shots back.
All of a sudden I am getting texts from Juan and others who saw what I had posted on Facebook. I smiled for finally being accurate about something. It then dawned on me that Ken Venturi would have relished this finish. A foreign player who overcomes the odds to win an American tournament. At a location where the player it is named after was also quite the mentor to Ken Venturi.
Although saddened by the fates bestowed upon Keegan Bradley we know he’ll be back. All eyes were on Sang-Moon Bae. He had a media following similar to whenever Yu Darvish pitches in Arlington. It was vast.
Then came the trophy presentation and Sang-Moon Bae was all smiles. Thus came the end of the first leg of the Texas Two Step for golf in the Metroplex. That post game cigar tasted ever so good. Juan Garcia wants me to invest in Powerball numbers. Might have to take him up on that.
Blitz Weekly salutes and congratulates Sang-Moon Bae on a job well done!