What I'll Be Watching: Sunday at the Texas Open

SAN ANTONIO, TX. — I'll be walking and watching, actually. Assuming that the tournament isn't further delayed by rain, today's will be the last Valero Texas Open round played on the Resort Course at La Cantera Country Club. No tears will be shed by the tour caddies, who have leaked enough body fluid lugging staff bags around La Cantera's hilly routing in 90-degree heat and humidity. The course has never been a favorite of the players, either, although it's a stretch to call it "reviled," as some critics have. "La Cantera is a great course," a tactful Ted Purdy told me on Thursday, "but it is not a championship course."Next year the Texas Open moves to a Greg Norman course at the new TPC-San Antonio, and those who have seen it say it is a significant upgrade. But I'll miss La Cantera. Why? Because when I saw it for the first time, in the fall of 1996, it was caught in the grip of Tigermania. Woods, a newly-minted pro playing on sponsor exemptions, had thousands of spectators in tow. Some fans, trying to get a better view, climbed onto rocks and boulders, precipitating rock slides and people slides. I don't think anybody was seriously hurt, but I remember young Tiger backing off a few shots to stare in wonder at the roiling crowd.So long, La Cantera. Enjoy your retirement.

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by Kevin Cunningham