There’s nothing like taking a nice, long walk with your son on the golf course.
Both Woody Austin and Russ Cochran were fortunate to have their sons working their bags this weekend at the 2017 Tucson Conquistadores Classic at the Omni Tucson National Resort.
Austin’s son, Peyton, who is 17, was the caddie last year when his dad won the tournament. This year, said Woody, his son didn’t bring him much luck. Austin finished 11-under for the tournament, shooting a 68 Sunday to put him in a tie for 13th.
“I like having someone on my bag that I like spending time with,” Austin said. “I like to teach him things — he doesn’t always listen to me. But, on the course, he sees how I address the ball, what is going on in my mind when I hit shots. I think it helps him understand how we go about our business.”
For much of the round, they talked about their favorite team in the NCAA Tournament, Wichita State, and hoped they’d pull an upset over Kentucky. Unfortunately, the Shockers didn’t win.
And then there was that one moment in the middle of the day when Woody had his arm around Peyton.
“I told him I loved him,” said Peyton. “And, thanked him for letting me caddie.”
For a dad, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Cochran, 58, also cherishes the time spent on the course with his son, Ryan.
Ryan, who played college golf at the University of Florida in the early 2000s, started caddying for his dad in 2010 and spent a few years on the PGA tour carrying Jesper Parnevik’s bag.
Cochran finished with a 4-under for the tournament.
All of Cochran’s sons are involved in golf. Case plays on the Latino America Tour, and Reed, who was in the crowd this weekend, has caddied for Russ, as well.
For Ryan, time with his dad is even more special now after Russ had three stents placed in his heart in December. The elder Cochran has a history of heart issues in his family, having lost his father at 60.
“It was pretty scary,” said Ryan of his father’s recent heart issues. “He was on the road in Australia and wasn’t feeling well. It doesn’t get any better than being out here with him.”
Russ chipped in: “I’m not sure I would be battling out here on the tour without my family. Ryan makes it easy for me and I enjoy every second with him. It was emotional for me, too. I have a small sense of pride that I caught this early enough and can live longer and have a great healthy lifestyle.”
What’s in the bag?
Some golfers need to eat to keep fueled up for their rounds. Not Mark Brooks. He’s not an eater and carries nothing in his bag. He might take a banana from the tee box at the turn, but that’s about it.
Tom Pernice Jr. takes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and protein bars with him. But the most extensive eater on the course Sunday was Billy Mayfair.
“I carry granola bars and turkey,” he said. “I make little bison burgers in my hotel room. I even take butternut squash and peas and put them in a blender for soup. Food and carbs, especially are really important for me. It’s hot and we are out on the course for five hours. I carry coconut water, and yesterday we got backed up out there and I think I drank at least four bottles of water on four holes.”
One of the pickiest eaters is Tom Kite. His caddy of 17 years, Sandy Jones — who is one of only a handful of women caddies on the Champions Tour — said Tom likes “crunchy peanut butter on wheat bread and no-grape jelly. He also like nuts — pecans and almonds and dried blueberries.”
- Bernard Langer
- , who finished third at 15-under, set a new mark with 32 consecutive sub-par rounds. He broke
- Gil Morgan
- ’s 17-year old Champions Tour record. The streak started back in August at the first round of the Boeing Classic.
“I wasn’t aware of that,” said Langer after his round of 8-under 65 Sunday. “It’s better than having 32 rounds over par! I struggled today with uphill putting; I left all of them short. I need to adjust quicker to down slopes and up slopes on the golf course.”
Langer narrowed the margin in the Charles Schwab Cup race. He trails Fred Couples by $54,616. Couples finished tied for fourth at 14-under. It was Langer’s 75th top-3 finish in 191 starts on the Champions Tour.
- John Cook
- just wasn’t able to shake it off. Unfortunately, he hit a spectator around the turn and went in a little tailspin —
- tallying bogeys on three straight holes.
- Bob Tway
- hit his third career Champions Tour hole-in-one in Sunday. He aced No. 4 using an 8-iron on the 167-yard hole.