For the next two weeks, plaid jackets, looking for all the world like they were separated at birth, will be awarded to golf tournament winners.
The Charles Schwab Challenge and the RBC Heritage both seem to have chosen the Royal Stuart (or Stewart) design with a red background, not the alternate cream background.
The Scots, of course, would call them tartans, and those who are of Scottish descent might actually have a family tartan design and color. Because golf was originally a Scottish sport, for the next two weeks, it actually makes sense for golfers to be glad they are in plaid.
The Charles Schwab field this year includes a great number of past champions, all of whom have the jackets in their closets. That includes Phil Mickelson, Tom Lehman, David Frost, Zach Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Steve Stricker, Justin Rose and Kevin Kisner.
But plenty of others are looking to become the next man in plaid by adding the jacket to their wardrobes. That includes world beaters like Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy. Bonafide stars like Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Reed, Jason Day and Bryson DeChambeau.
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In fact, the field at next week’s tournament is a strong and eclectic mix, with more big names than usual, probably because PGA Tour players really want to play golf. We know we are golf starved, but we aren’t the only ones.
The list of big names with victories at Colonial CC is long. It includes Ben Hogan, who won five times between 1946 and 1959, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and many others over the 70-plus years that a PGA Tour event has been held there.
The course was famous before it became a regular tournament site because it held the 1941 U.S. Open, the last one before WWII got in the way of golf and everything else. Then in 1946, after the end of WWII, the Tour came to town. That means Colonial has tested the best players of every generation since it opened. It was even home to the Players Championship in 1975, before the tournament got a permanent home. Now, it’s first to restart PGA Tour golf after a coronavirus vacation.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the list of past champions at Colonial CC is that long hitters and short hitters have both won
It’s surprising because everyone knows it’s a tight golf course. You’d never pick Phil Mickelson as a likely candidate to slip on that plaid jacket, but his name graces the Wall of Champions on the first tee. Amazingly, he won it twice. So did Ben Crenshaw, a guy who tended to hook and was not a stranger to the bad tee shot.
The most incredible winner at Colonial is the late Bruce Lietzke. He hit a comprehensive fade. Every shot. The big, big, big banana. It was the kind of shot that starts over the left tree line in order to find the fairway to the right of center. Maybe he knew how to hit a straight shot, but he didn’t bring it out often. How he got through the 3rd hole or avoided the trees on the left side of the 5th is a mystery. It’s just so narrow there.
Close to Lietzke in fading achievement is Lee Trevino, and he also won twice at Colonial.
So, while we always think of Colonial as much more the territory of guys like Zach Johnson, straight and not long, but long enough, history has proven that it’s mainly a course for good quality ballstrikers, whatever the length of their shots. Guys like past champ Kevin Kisner or maybe Ian Poulter or potentially my favorite go-to guy, Xander Schauffele.
While we all wait for the first tee shot to leap into the air, we’ll just have to wrap our brains around the idea of Brooks Koepka’s or Bryson DeChambeau’s biceps in plaid. Honestly, that’s a stretch.
To find your favorite tartan, or “favourite” tartan, pick from this list on Wikipedia. To find your favorite in the field at the Charles Schwab Challenge, check this link: https://www.charlesschwabchallenge.com/players/tournament-field