FORT WORTH, Texas -- PGA Tour golfer Jimmy Walker has volunteered to chat with us each day about his round, the Fort Worth scene and his life in general. He came to the course on Wednesday to get nine holes in, but was not scheduled to play in the Pro-Am. Here are his thoughts:
Q: When did you arrive and what do you think of the course?
JW: I got in here midday yesterday and my back has been a little sore, so I played nine holes yesterday just to see it because I've never played here before. I played the front nine. Today, I got here early and played the back nine. It's a great course. I live in San Antonio and play at Oak Hills and everyone told me it would remind of that and it did. It's an old-school golf course. The whole course is in a confined area. You walk off the green and the tee box is right there. With the modern golf courses, we have 100 yard walks to the next hole. It's nice to get back to roots golf course, the older courses. The trees can visually mess with your head and they look like they can be a nuisance even though they aren't on some holes. That's a good design. There's good bunkering too. A bunker that's 70 yards away can look like it's right in front of the green from the tee. These have to be some of the smaller greens on Tour next to Harbor Town.
Q: You've got any plans this week outside of the golf?
A: With the baby (Walker has an 11-month-old son named Mclain) and everything, when you get a wek by yourself, it's nice to chill out, get some sleep and do your own thing. There's a place in Dallas called "The Observatory." It's a telescope store. I've been getting into astro-photography. I was always into telescopes as a kid and started thinking about it a year ago and wanted to get a telescope for the back yard. Started looking up and was disappointed because living in a city, the sky is light polluted. The only way I can see anything is to stick a camera on the back and do long exposure. I got some gear to do that and found out it's not as easy as you'd think it would be. But I've learned a lot and it's giving me something to keep the brain working. It's fun to learn new stuff.
Q: You played at Baylor. How was the football team when you were there and did you attend games while at school?
JW: Terrible. We supported everything. The athletes were good about that. But there wasn't a whole lot of school support. The student body didn't really show up for football games. It was kind of sad. We'd play Texas and have more Texas fans in the crowd than you would Baylor. But when we were home, we went to the game. I loved going to basketball games and volleyball and tennis too besides football.
I think it's great getting to a bowl. They've got a tough road. There are so many good schools in Texas, big schools. They've done a good job of pulling in some better players and upgrading facilities. They are busting it to get if figured out.
Q: So you have golf to thank for your marriage, too?
JW: That's true. I met Erin at the Salt Lake City event on the Nationwide Tour in 2004. A caddie introduced us on Saturday afternoon. She was volunteering in his group (he was a caddie for another player at the time) and talked her into coming out and watching me play. We started talking and I talked to her for about an hour after the round when I was on the practice tee and talked her into coming back on Sunday and we talked about going out that night. We went out after the tournament and really had a good time and all of a sudden we were talking on the phone every night after that and she came out for another tournament in Oregon. We got married in '05. We didn't waste any time. She's in Tyler this week at a horse show.
Q: Any specific goals before the tournament starts?
JW: My goal is to win. It's everybody's goal. But it's a more realistic goal. If you're looking at sheers numbers and odds, it's hard to do. The short-term goals are I've been working on some new driver stuff and I want to keep driving it well. I feel like I've turned a corner off the tee. I feel healthy. My low back has been sore, but feeling good this week is key. I'm not going to do a ton of ball hitting. My swing feels good. The course fits my eye.
Richard Durrett covers golf for ESPNDallas.com.