The Dell Match Play World Golf Championship sold all available tickets for the fourth consecutive year. As the top 64 players in the world golf rankings assembled at Austin Country Club, many of the local citizens were on hand to watch the players final preparations on Tuesday.
Steve Rodriquez and his father-in-law Lowell Harvey were relaxing on the practice tee watching the action of the players hit balls. Lowell and Pam Harvey are from Wichita Falls but are also part time Austin residents because Steve and their daughter Renee live in Austin.
It’s difficult to determine who is the most avid golfer in the family because Hunter, Steve’s eight year old son, is a good player and absolutely rabid about the game. Hunter was collecting player autographs while the rest of the family was trying to learn from the best players in the world. Three generations of that family were enjoying the tournament.
Amy Wernecke loves the game. Her father, Ty Willis, is a member of Austin Country Club and her husband Matt Werneke is the golf coach at Vandegrift High School. Matt is one of the better amateurs in Austin and a former Austin Men’s City Champion.
Vandegrift has one of the top three golf High School programs in the city. Most of the 5-A and 6-A high school state championship teams have come from the Austin area in the last five years. That includes both the boys and girls teams.
Amy is a familiar face in the Austin Amateur golf circles as she roots for the girls and boys high school teams as well as for Matt in various local tournaments or in team events such as the Rudy’s Cup.
Its always great to see her at the tournament.
Mark Hendrix, Phillip Vescovo and Kirk Smith were there Tuesday, waiting for Tiger Woods to show up. Unfortunately, they left just before he appeared on the practice tee. All three are talented players in their own right.
Mark, who plays left-handed is playing to a single digit handicap and has recently started playing even better.
Phillip played golf for the University of Texas when Phil Blackmar was on the team and George Hannon was the Coach. Phillip carries a low handicap, still occasionally shoots under par and is a student of the game.
Kirk Smith is a kind of under the radar player. I became aware of how good he is during last season when he played well in both the Austin Men’s City Senior Championship and the Texas Golf Association State Senior Championship.
So, all three were very interested spectators on the practice tee and had the knowledge to appreciate what they were seeing on display there.
Mike Martin, Lisa Allen, Tim Sitter and Jane Knudsen were enjoying the scenery around the practice area.
Mike, who has recently been taking golf lessons and improving rapidly, enjoys volunteering at the tournament as well as watching the players. He was explaining that be was beginning to understand more about the game and why these players were so good.
Tim, who plays at Lost Creek Country Club, seemed to be watching intently for tips to improve.
Lisa, who is a member at ACC, was appreciating the “wow” factor of watching stars like Brooks Keopka, Tiger Woods, Jordan Speith and so on. Jane, who was a Spanish Teacher at Westlake High School for most of her teaching career, feels like this is a great chance to visit with former students, friends and is also slightly interested in the golf.
Good to the locals enjoying the event.