Archive for April, 2015

Boerne’s Walker heads to The Masters

After winning $1.1 million and, more importantly, a new pair of cowboy boots at San Antonio’s Valero Texas Open ten days ago, Boerne resident Jimmy Walker is off to Augusta. Is he ready?

“He’s primed and ready,” friend Andrew Tosdevin said after a round with Walker last week at Cordillera Ranch. “He just took $17 dollars off me.”

When he’s not taking on earth’s top golfers as the 13th best player in the world, Walker takes on a close-knit clan at the Jack Nicklaus course ten miles east of Boerne. The group plays up to four times a week when Walker is home, according to Cordillera golf pro Marc DeWall.

“They’re all good players, all have single-digit handicaps,” DeWall explained. “Jimmy seems to enjoy their camaraderie and the banter back and forth.”

“We treat him like one of the boys,” said Tosdevin, an accented Brit who met Walker on the driving range three years ago. The two had struck up a conversation about a shared interest: wine. “We talk trash, but in a pleasant way.”

Golf is, after all, a gentleman’s game. But it’s not for the weak-willed. Walker endured nearly a decade of ups and downs between the Nationwide and PGA tours before recording a PGA victory – in his 188th event.

Walker recently told Golf Digest about a low point on the journey:

“After six years as a pro my career hadn’t gone anywhere. Funds were running low, I’d never had a job outside of playing golf, and I was feeling dead-ended. I phoned my wife, Erin, and broached the idea of the two of us getting real jobs.

“When both people are crying on a long-distance call, that’s rock bottom. The next week in West Virginia was the hottest weather I’d ever played golf in. Just putting one foot in front of the other, I somehow won the tournament.”

Seven years and $16 million later, Walker is a different golfer, thanks in part to the work of teaching pro Brian Gathright of San Antonio’s Oak Hills Country Club and Butch Harmon who coached Tiger Woods through eight of his fourteen major tournament wins.

But Walker is no different a person, say DeWall and Tosdevin. He still enjoys time with his wife and sons. He still enjoys taking pictures of stars through a telescope.

“Jimmy is extremely generous with his time and resources,” DeWall explained. “He gives back in ways people don’t know about. He’s given a lot to The First Tee, a program that helps kids from all walks of life build character, cultivate values and make healthy choices through the game of golf.”

Tosdevin agreed, “The beautiful thing about Jimmy is he is just a regular guy. He always has time for people. He’s absolutely genuine and humble. He is simply a super nice person.”

Such a description was once often par for the course among celebrity types. That’s obviously no longer the case, even with golfers.

So it’s refreshing when you hear it and further proof that someone special will represent Cordillera Ranch and Boerne at The Master’s later this week. As the current leader in FedEx Cup points, Walker will be among the favorites.

“He’s playing beautifully,” Tosdevin assured me. “He has a great chance to win.”

At golf and life.

 

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. Follow him at www.kwt.info.

 

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