Jazz enjoying his time in Texas

Thu 25 May 2017

Jazz enjoying his time in Texas

May 25: It was one of those pinch yourself moments.
Jazz Janewattananond was on the first tee of the famed Colonial Country Club course and venue for this week’s Dean & Deluca Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas.
Asking if he could join the exciting 21-year old Thai-born star for a practice round was Billy Horschel and just two days after the Florida-born golfer ended a three-year winless drought to capture the AT & A Byron Nelson.
Jazz is no stranger to playing golf in the US as he is coached by Terry Rowles, an Englishman living in Phoenix, Arizona and in recent times Jazz has stayed at the Rowles house and played many of the gems in the city including TPC Phoenix and venue each year for the Phoenix Open.
Jazz Janewattananond Jazz Janewattananond. Picture by @TourMiss
However, Jazz has found his way to Texas for a first occasion to make his debut on a course when legendary Ben Hogan called home, and where there is a statute of Hogan who won the event, and then known as the Colonial National Invitational, five times between 1946 and 1959.
Jazz won for the first time on the Asian Tour earlier this year by capturing the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open, a win that provided a huge boost to his pro career since joining the play-for-pay ranks amazingly seven years ago.
Jazz had been afforded an invitation into the US$6.7m event and he is the first Thai-born golfer to contest in the PGA Tour’s longest-running tournament. However, sadly for the clearly bright, bubbly and also young freckle-faced Jazz his practice round with Horschel lasted just one hole due to rain.
“I was supposed to play nine holes this morning (Tuesday) but because of the rain we only got to manage just one hole but I then I was really pleased Billy wanted to play a round with me,” said Jazz.
“He was really nice and even though he did not know who I was, he did ask me about how I got into the event while I congratulated him on winning on Sunday”.

Jazz travelled to Texas in the company of his caddy, Scottish-born Greg Harper and who caddies for him in Asia. And Harper, who hails from famed Musselburgh and just to the east of Edinburgh, revealed he previously had worked as an English language teacher, and once taught Jazz.

It is little wonder then Jazz enjoys such a strong grasp of English.

“I have known Greg for about for the past three to four years and he is one of my good friends but then we first met each other many years ago when he was my English teacher,” said Jazz.
“And having spent a long time travelling to the States and staying with Terry has all helped make me feel comfortable coming here to Texas but then what I have found strange and getting used to is varying grasses they compete on over here and it does takes some getting used to you.
"I know I am going to be really nervous teeing-up on Thursday in what will be my first PGA Tour event." - Jazz Janewattananond

“But then the Colonial club course, it is a very traditional tree-lined course very flat and with raised greens, and from what I have seen I feel it does suit my eye.”
However, Jazz will tee-up in the Lone Star State focussing not so much on the US$1.26 million first prize cheque nor striving to make the halfway cut but simply to enjoy the occasion.
“I have known for some time I would be playing here in Fort Worth but then it was like the icing on the cake for me,” he said.
“There is nothing like a victory to help boost your confidence but in saying that I know I am going to be really nervous teeing-up on Thursday in what will be my first PGA Tour event. But it is not as though I am pinching myself as I have just wanted to play in a PGA Tour event for so long and this is ultimately where I want to be playing eventually.
“So, for the time being I just do not care if I do not make any money this week.  It is just so good to be here in Texas and making my PGA Tour debut.”
Jazz will contest the opening two rounds in the company of local Fort Worth’s Martin Piller and Sam Saunders, the grandson of the late Arnold Palmer. And to honour the memory of Palmer, Rowles has handed Jazz a special commemorative “Arnies Army” badge to pin to his cap this week.
Meanwhile, defending champion and double Major winning Jordan Spieth offered some simple advice to Jazz. Spieth, who lives in nearby Dallas, is looking to win for a second occasion this new season after capturing a ninth PGA Tour title in February at the AT & T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California.
The Lone Star State golfer made his Colonial debut in 2o13 and has contested the event each year with results of tied seventh, equal 14th, runner-up and then victory a year ago.
Success meant Spieth’s name now appears, along with legendary fellow Texan Ben Hogan who won the event five times, on the “Wall of Champions” adjacent to the first tee. However, before teeing-up in Wednesday’s Pro-Am with actor and comedian Bill Murray as one of his amateur partners, Spieth offered advice to Jazz.
“I would say to Jazz to look back historically as we have seen quite a few guys come in here as their first start,” said the current World No. 7.
“I remember Franklin (Corpening) a couple years shooting next to nothing in the first couple rounds but he just had fun with it obviously. (Note: Corpening shot 68, 67, 72 & 62 to finish tied 14th in 2013) “That's what people told me, but it's a lot easier said than done in your first couple starts.
“But have a good time. Kind of embrace everything the week entails. Embrace the locker room, the practice rounds, whatever it may be. The facilities. It's not normal. We're very blessed on the PGA Tour to have the best in that situation.
“So, to have just a great time, but then also recognize that you can go out here and compete. It's been done. It's been done on this golf course, too. You hit the ball in the fairway out here, that is such an advantage, especially when it's going to get windy. You don't need to shoot very low scores to climb up the leader board the first two days of this week is what it looks like”.
After meeting Billy Horschel, and winner of last week’s AT & T Byron Nelson on Tuesday, Jazz proudly got his picture taken on Wednesday with Murray.
Story courtesy of Bernie McGuire