Partner Up, with Team Martinez

Zeke Martinez plays an aggravating style of golf, if you listen to the good-natured chiding he gets from his own brother, Mario. And it has nothing to do with the fact that Zeke tees it up as a left-hander, and no more than 10 minutes later is switching to hit as a righty.

“He’s made it work,” Mario says. “But, he plays old-man golf. He hits it 200 yards down there off the tee. He might hit his second shot 150 yards, somewhere short of the green.”

Mario Martinez (left) and his brother Zeke form one of the more successful partnerships on San Antonio golf courses.

Mario Martinez (left) and his brother Zeke form one of the more successful partnerships on San Antonio golf courses.

In the end, the aggravation sometimes comes at someone else’s expense, because the Martinez brothers have made one of the best teams on the Alamo City Golf Trail Tour the past two years.

The Martinez brothers have have either won or finished second in divisions of all three of the team events the ACGT has offered this season.

With that sort of record, no one will take them lightly anymore, no matter what Zeke’s lefty-then-righty, short-off-the-tee game looks like when he’s chipping onto another green.

“People think he’s out of (contention on) the hole,” Mario said. “Everybody thinks he’s in trouble, and then he chips one in or makes a long putt. They don’t know what hit them.”

Mario, 40, is the lower handicapper of the two, coming in at single digits. His usual length off the tee consistently pushes past 270 yards, setting him up for a reasonable shot into the green. When other players see that, they can at first get the feeling Mario has a strong back — he’ll figuratively put his brother on his shoulders in team events.

“They think they’re playing me,’ Mario said, “but it turns out Zeke carries us a lot of the time.”

There is a method to Zeke’s decisions on when to go right or left. A peek into his golf bag, particularly at his wedges, gives it away.

He drives and hits into the green as a lefty. He chips and putts from the right side.

“As if this game isn’t hard enough,” Zeke said.

His story of coming to an ambidextrous game has none of the intrigue of Titanic Thompson, that real-life character who often seemed to show up in the writing of late San Antonio Express-News columnist and KENS-TV sportscaster Dan Cook.

In a biography of Thompson written by Kevin Cook (no relation to Dan) entitled The Man Who Bet on Everything, Thompson is reported to have defeated golfers playing right-handed, then offered them double-or-nothing and hustling them into taking the bet when he said he’d play left-handed.

News traveled slowly in the 1920s and ’30s, and Thompson continued pulling off the hustle. But when Thompson met a young right-handed golfer out of West Virginia who offered three strokes while he played left-handed against Thompson, it didn’t take long for Thompson to respond: “No thanks. I’ve heard of that one.” Good thing. The young golfer turned out to be Sam Snead, easily the most athletic player of his day.

Thompson’s dominant side was his left. Zeke Martinez’s is right.

“But when I first started playing, I couldn’t do anything right-handed,” Zeke said. “I was whiffing it. I even have a much better swing right-handed. But I’m more comfortable left-handed.”

Zeke, 47, is on the training staff for a national restaurant chain, and he has an enthusiasm for the game that is easy to notice. When he took up golf with other family members more than 15 years ago, Mario noticed and gave it a try after about a year of hearing Zeke rave about it.

It took a while, but sibling rivalry spurred Mario on to a more than adequate game.

“I absolutely hated it at first,” Mario said. “I told them, ‘I can’t believe you do this for pleasure.’ But I became obsessed to beat them, and, somewhere, I hit a couple of good golf shots and I fell in love with it.”

Mario, who has an ownership interest in a computer network company, admits that a competitive passion can get to him on the golf course. So, Zeke’s putting is not the only place where Mario looks for help.

“He’s a calming influence for me,” Mario said. “He knows when I’m about to blow a gasket, and he keeps me in check.

“And we help each other. I know his swing better than he knows it himself. I can give him a swing thought that can help him fairly quickly.”

It helps in an alternate-shot format when Mario missiles a drive out there close enough that Zeke can get one of those right-handed wedges in his hands. Mario likes the response from his brother:

“It’s always, ‘Wow, so this is what it feels like to be inside 100 yard on your approach.'”

It’s a good feeling. But to play right and left-handed? That’s a hard feeling to capture.

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Twitter reaction to the Valero Texas Open was a “disaster”

I consider my weekend to be a success when I spend most of it outdoors in the sunshine, when I spend most of it with family and friends, and when at least a little bit of it includes golf. But Twitter, it seems does hardly any of this. Its contributors mostly sit inside and watch TV. And when I got back inside and hooked into my Twitter feed (@PlaySAGolf365) on Sunday, I found that my entire afternoon had devolved into one long, slow, painful, tedious, disgraceful …

I was at the Valero Texas Open, and I didn’t need Twitter to discover there was slow, difficult play in the final round of the Valero Texas Open. I walked the front nine and followed the final three groups. Slow play showed up as early as the second hole.

The piling on and everyone throwing in their two cents worth is just a part of life now, and everyone better get used to it, no matter that their opinion is.

“It was a disaster,” golf author and commentator Geoff Shackelford said Monday on Golf Channel. “This was very negative. And that’s all you really saw on Twitter.

“The Valero (Texas) Open should be a fun event, should be about the focus of the chance of a few guys to get into the Masters. It shouldn’t be about all these negative things.”

Yet it was. Was there more focus of Andrew Loupe’s 11 practice swings and his habit of clearing loose blades of grass than there was of a man who — forget about him overcoming being 339th in the world rankings to win the tournament — admits he may never overcome a mental illness so dark that he attempted suicide eight years ago? That’s the life of Texas Open winner Steven Bowditch.

“He’s been a battler; he’s gone through a lot in his life,” fellow Aussie golfer John Senden told me afterward. “I’m proud to call him my mate.”

I don’t count practice swings. And I normally don’t count minutes on a golf course (though I have been more lately). I didn’t count how long it took the final group of Bowditch, Loupe and Matt Kuchar to play the second hole at TPC San Antonio’s Oaks Course. They needed two rulings from PGA Tour officials, they picked up their ball and dropped it three times (two free drops, after counsel from rules officials, and one unplayable).

I could have eaten lunch in the time it took them to play No. 2, yet they still had to wait for the groups in front of them to play No. 3. Again, I wasn’t counting minutes, but I can say that I waited in line to use the porta-potty, checked emails, walked further away from the players so I could check phone messages and texts so that a marshal wouldn’t bark at me for having my phone out, then got up to No. 3 and the players still were waiting.

There was a wait on No. 5 tee because most of the players were trying to drive the green at the par-4, a wait at that green after Kuchar shockingly skulled his straightforward bunker shot past the green, and then I watched the group ahead (Kevin Na, Pat Perez and Daniel Summerhays) play No. 6. Then No. 7. And there was barely a sign of the final group.

I couldn’t help it. I whipped out the phone and Tweeted through @golflikeurpoor:
“No. 7 green @tpcsanantonio has been open at least 15 minutes, and that group had Kevin Na. I’m slow like this @AlamoCityGolf I lose a stroke.”

That’s my personal observation. If you want more on slow play, go to Twitter; there’s plenty out there, like this: On Sunday it was suggested that title sponsors, like Valero, have power, and that these sponsors should go to the PGA Tour and demand a fix for slow play because it’s embarrassing and bad for golf.

Sponsors don’t dictate pin positions, they don’t dictate where the tees are placed, and they aren’t God; they don’t dictate wind. Maybe they can make suggestions — on two out of the three.

As to the difficulty of the course, Valero CEO Joe Gorder has suggested more work will be done to soften the course, particularly in the area of cleaning up native areas.

The PGA Tour will not address slow play, I’m thinking, until the title sponsors vote with their feet and the Tour goes a year or so without being able to replace them in more than a troublesome tournament or two. The title sponsors will find other places to spend their promotional budget when attendance goes down, when TV ratings go down (the Valero Texas Open for Sunday will go down because Phil Mickelson withdrew the day before and the Final Four spots were on the line on CBS/TNT) and fewer dollars are generated for charity (now, I’m not chastising here, because the $9 million number for charity generated by Valero and its partners is truly huge, but 10 percent less than last year’s PGA Tour record).

Attendance (or ticket sales) at this year’s event, listening to tournament officials, will be up, even when Mickelson came out before the final round.

So, when it comes to mainstream nationwide image at least, this is a blighted year for the event. As for how the PGA Tour executives look at it, Tour chief operating officer Andy Pazder said “we at the Tour need to make sure the Valero Texas Open remains on an upward trend. All of the elements are in place for it to get better.”

Ultimately, it depends upon the players to show up, particularly the marquee names. Wonder if they will, after hearing everything on Sunday.

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Lefty making a right-hand turn with commitment to play Valero Texas Open


Photos show Phil Mickelson in 1993 (around the time he last played in the Texas Open) and last year when he won the British Open.

Photos show Phil Mickelson in 1993 (around the time he last played in the Texas Open) and last year when he won the British Open.

When a quirky clause in the contract the Valero Texas Open has with the PGA Tour required the VTO to be played the week before the Masters last year, forcing the Shell Houston Open off its usual date the week before Augusta, perhaps no one was more vocal about the temporary change than Phil Mickelson.

“We all were disappointed,” Mickelson said when he arrived in Houston last year. “(The Shell Houston Open is) a fun, fun tournament to play before the Masters.  Unfortunately, the next week where it’s windy and tight, it’s just not conducive to getting ready for Augusta.”

To be sure, Mickelson was immediately asked if, by “next week,” he meant San Antonio: “Yeah.”

Yet this week, VTO executive director Larson Segerdahl confirmed that Mickelson has committed to play in “windy” San Antonio at the “tight” TPC San Antonio Oaks Course next week (March 27-30).

Considering that Lefty hasn’t played here in more than 20 years, this move is a golf-awkward right-hand turn for him. What happened to make Mickelson bust through his mental barricade and take the detour to San Antonio as he travels to Augusta?

That question has been asked through an email to T.R. Reinman, the media relations director at the agency managing Mickelson’s career. There’s been no response.

So, here’s some speculation:

First, Lefty’s game has taken a nose dive. It’s no good, and he needs the work even if he sticks to his usual plan by playing in Houston the week after the VTO. Since the completion of the FedEx Cup, Mickelson played in three events in Asia: the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, the WGC-HSBC in China and the European Tour event at Abu Dhabi through mid January. Nine of his 12 rounds were under par. Since then he’s played five events stateside, and from his 16 rounds only five have come in under par. He has one withdrawal (Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines) because of a bad back.

Next, TPC’s Oaks Course is not as grisly as it’s been made out to be, particularly after some changes have been constructed in and around four putting greens. It was beckoned for by players, because stroke average at the 2011 Valero Texas Open was 1.665 strokes over par. Two years ago it topped out at 1.989 over par, which made the Oaks play as the fourth most difficult course on the PGA Tour. Finally, last year it tumbled down to only .740 over par, and that came with some of the wind Mickelson has cited. Three other tournament sites this year — Torrey Pines, Honda’s PGA National and the WGC’s Doral — all have played more difficult this year.

And last, and this is a bit touchy, is charity. Perhaps when Mickelson made those comments last year that “We all were disappointed” by the limited schedule change swapping the San Antonio and Houston events, he was unaware that the change was made, mostly, to accommodate a charitable event Valero operates in conjunction with the Texas Open.

Valero is the record-holder for charitable contributions on the PGA Tour (more than $9 million a year recently). To bark over a one-year deal, crafted in a way to keep charity money flowing, makes one sound like a heel — if that person was otherwise uninformed.

Mickelson has to know, now. His charitable foundation benefits a science teacher’s academy and, by the way, is sponsored by a company (ExxonMobil) that’s in the same business (oil production and energy) as Valero. Mickelson also has significant involvement in Birdies for the Brave, which generates funds for injured soldiers and their families. Valero has an event on Friday night of tournament week recognizing and benefiting military heroes.

This will be Mickelson’s first appearance to play in San Antonio since 1992 at Oak Hills Country Club. H-E-B was the title sponsor and the event was played in the fall. Mickelson, now 43, was a PGA Tour rookie who had one career PGA Tour win — as an amateur — at Phoenix the previous year. He didn’t crack the top 40 here.

The Texas Open was struggling then; Mickelson had a brighter future.

Things have changed. Rory McIlroy, ranked No. 2 in the world, played here last year, and now Mickelson. McIlroy came here for the work. So is Mickelson. The Green Jacket can make players do things normally out of their way. But don’t underestimate the green for charity.

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Patrick Reed: Golf’s newest sensation from San Antonio


Patrick Reed reaches for a club from caddie Kessler Karain, a San Antonio resident and graduate of UTSA, while winning the WGC at Doral.

Patrick Reed reaches for a club from caddie Kessler Karain, a San Antonio resident and graduate of UTSA, while winning the WGC at Doral.

Perhaps there are two facts worth noting — and one development on his schedule — from Patrick Reed’s most recent win, which came in the WGC Championship at Doral in Miami. Now with three wins in his PGA career (his first came 14 starts ago in a playoff victory over Jordan Spieth at the Wyndham Championship), Reed has won all of them after being the leader through three rounds of play. He can close the deal. Second, Reed is fourth in the current standings to make the US Ryder Cup team. Jimmy Walker, a resident of Boerne, continues to lead the standings with his three wins on the current PGA Tour season.

Reed was born in San Antonio 23 years ago. But he would not be the youngest to play in the Ryder Cup (Sergio Garcia was 19 while playing for Europe in 1999). he would not be the youngest American, either (Horton Smith was a 21-year-old in 1929).
The change in his schedule, for San Antonio golf fans, is unfortunate. As of now, he does not plan on plahying in the Valero Texas Open in a little more than two weeks.
“You never know; it’s possible he could play,” said his caddie, Kessler Karain of San Antonio. “But after winning last weekend, he’s thinks he wants to take two weeks off in front of the Masters.”
Reed lived in San Antonio until about age eight before his family moved. He graduated from high school in Baton Rouge, La., and won two state championships before moving on to college at Georgia, then Augusta (Ga.) State.
One would think his play at Augusta State would afford him plenty of rounds at Augusta National. Not so.

“He’s played the course three times,” Karain said, “and those came in the times of year when Augusta is not in its peak condition. Still, the way he’s played this year, he definitely confident walking in there. That’ll mean a lot.”

As for the reason Reed’s not playing in the Texas Open? Karain was asked if Reed doesn’t like the TPC San Antonio course, which has rubbed some players the wrong way before it was altered in a few places before last year’s event. Karain did not confirm that, harking more on the two-week break Reed can get by taking off the VTO and Shell Houston Open. Reed has played here twice, on a sponsor’s exemption in 2012 (tied for 35th after making the cut by four strokes) and last year when he missed the cut by three.
There are a few other names thrown into the VTO hat this week. They include Chesson Hadley (winner last week at the PGA Tour stop at Puerto Rico), Stuart Appleby, Woody Austin, Fred Funk, Charley Hoffman, J.B. Holmes, Charles Howell III, Ryan Palmer and Scott Verplank.
This year’s Texas Open is March 27-30. Earlier announcements of players who have committed are Walker, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and defending champion Martin Laird. No word yet on Rory McIlroy, who finished second behind Laird last year, though McIlroy has announced he’s playing in Houston the week after the VTO.
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A few South Texas golf notes

  • Ed Sanchez of San Antonio and Trevor Hyde of Kerrville finished third in the Texas Golf Association’s South Four-Ball Championship at Quail Valley Golf Club’s El Dorado Course in Missouri City. Sanchez-Hyde shot 11-under for the 36-hole event. The Houston-area team of John Dowdall and Randy Lance shot 11-under on the final day and came from behind to win with a 14-under total.
  • In addition to The Club at Sonterra’s Tim Hobby being named Southern Texas PGA teacher of the year (he also won the recent STPGA Match-Play Championship conducted at Bryan’s Miramont CC), other golfers in the area honored with 2013 awards were Escondido Golf and Lake Club general manager Glenn Lee (Bill Strausbaugh Award for mentoring) and Fredericksburg’s Kaytlen James as girls junior golfer of the year (she won the STPGA Junior Tour event at Canyon Springs in July).
  • The Central Texas I-Tour is planning a return to operation for the first time since 2011. Jeff Smith will operate the events for the organization that has conducted tournaments for more than 10 years mostly in the Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth areas. First up is a stop March 8 at The Bandit near New Braunfels.

    “I’m hopeful we can attract about 80 players to our events here, but if we can find a core group of 40 that will play every week I think we can have a lot of fun,” Smith said. “I’ve contacted some of the players who participated here in years past, and some of our players from Houston and Dallas will be coming over as well.”

    Typical entry fee will be $199 per event, as is the case with the stop at The Bandit. Smith said he’s planning 13 events this year in Central Texas and that half of the entry fees will go to a purse, which is planned to start at $1,000 for first place. Smith said the I-Tour will pay cash prizes the day of the event.

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A PGA Tour look at the Valero Texas Open

Valero appears to enjoy its title sponsorship of the Texas Open, and the PGA Tour enjoys having Valero around.

“Valero is one of our very best title sponsors,” PGA Tour executive vice president and chief operating officer Andy Pazder said. “The senior management and employees are clearly engaged in the event, and the tournament has done nothing but get better and better and better and better.”

Pazder said he expects this year’s field to be comparable to last year when Matt Kuchar, Ian Poulter, Jim Furyk and Charl Schwartzel joined the field along with then No. 2-ranked Rory McIlroy — though no one is guaranteeing McIlroy will be back after finished second last year. Early commitments for this year’s event include Kuchar, Furyk, Sergio Garcia and Jimmy Walker — all ranked top 40 in the world.

Though Pazder said there will be no extension of the “conflicting-event release” that will guarantee appearances by Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson at the Open, the PGA Tour is trying to make it difficult for any player to skip the VTO.

“We can’t dictate what tournaments they play; that’s not a part of our structure,” Pazder said. “But we at the Tour need to make sure the Valero Texas Open remains on an upward trend. All of the elements are in place for it to get better.”

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Not all PGA Tour title sponsors are happy; how about the Texas Open?

What’s this? A title sponsor on the PGA Tour is griping because Tiger Woods is not coming to their event, even though they spend millions to try to get him there?

No, it’s not Valero, the company that puts its name in front of the Texas Open. But, with the Valero Texas Open a month away (March 27-30), a recent question-and-answer with Valero CEO Joe Gorder makes it clear that Valero is concerned the quality of the field that comes to San Antonio reflects the effort Valero puts into the event. Valero leads  the Texas Open to an annual PGA Tour record charitable contribution, last year hitting $10 million.

Gorder hasn’t publicly expressed frustration over the Valero Texas Open not getting Tiger Woods to show up. But the lack of  star power showing up to their well-paid-for event wears on a title sponsor. HSBC is reponsible for a $12 million purse at its PGA Tour event every fall in China, yet Tiger Woods skips it. “If you’ve got sponsors investing that level of money,” HSBC’s Giles Morgan said, “the players should respect the calendar.”

In that story, a golf analyst opined “that perhaps the tours should exert some back-room coercion” (to get Woods to play), and that “Woods’s continued absences could cost the sport plenty.”

“Back-room coersion”? Greg Norman, who’s production company operates the event for Valero, alluded to that last year: “Look, Valero over the years, quite honestly and to be very frank, has probably had the short end of the stick. The quality of their field has never been to the standard of the commitment the company has put into it. When you think about a company  that raises (more than) $9 million in one year for charity, (the PGA Tour) better step up to the plate for them.”

Indeed, if the PGA Tour advertises that “charity is the leading money-winner,” as it has done, then what Valero is feeding should be hitting right about on the PGA Tour sweet tooth.

Never forget, the PGA Tour has made nice with San Antonio. With Valero pumping sizeable charity money even five years ago, the PGA Tour opened the door for the Texas Open’s move from the overlooked “Fall Series” to the preferred Spring date.

Yet, until last year when Rory McIlroy (then No. 2 in the world) showed up, the PGA Tour usually couldn’t find a way to close the deal with strength of player fields. There were stories that showed the fields were weak in both 2011 and 2012, particularly in ’12 when Ben Curtis won and did not earn enough world-ranking points to qualify for a World Golf Championship event later that year because the Texas Open field was so weak.

Valero’s Gorder didn’t make a threat, veiled or otherwise, that the company is dropping out of sponsoring the Texas Open after the contract expires in 2018. But it’s clear the company has let the PGA Tour know that there could be a better job done in reciprocating Valero’s charitable effort in the form of “encouraging” (did someone else say “back-room coersion”?) the top players to hop on their private jets, fall out of their hotel feather beds at the JW Marriott across the way and play a  round of golf every now and then in the Texas Open.

Q: Greg Norman has said that you would think that a tournament that generates so much money to charity, which is really the PGA Tour’s sweet tooth, would get a field of players of more quality. He said it before last year’s event, and everyone recognizes the field eventually was better last year. Shouldn’t there be some sort of reward, namely  work by the PGA Tour to get more of its headline players to an event that generates record charitable contributions? Is that still a concern for Valero?

A: Sure it is. It’s very important. Having a date that is before the Masters is something that we’d like to retain, and  we’re grateful for it. And we’ve registered our desire with the PGA Tour, on a regular basis, and so they know where we are on this. We hope that the Tour looks at what we’re trying to do, that we’re trying to make this a premier event, (and) continue to work with us on it.

Q: Isn’t there precedent to “obligate” PGA Tour players to play in certain events? For example, (the event Boerne-resident Jimmy Walker won in October) will have in its field — guaranteed — Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson at least once in the next three years. Woods and Mickelson are required to play in exchange for “conflicting-event releases” they were granted by the PGA Tour for permission to play in an exhibition in Turkey two years ago. The exhibition conflicted on the PGA Tour schedule on a concurrent week with the Frys. Could there be some outside-the-box thinking where the Tour can be encouraged to look at those using those releases for other events that warrant support, such as the Valero Texas Open where record amounts of money for charities are being generated on an annual basis?

A: We’d love to see that. But it’s hard. Professional golfers are independent businessmen. So it’s very difficult for their  association to insist that they do it. At the same time it would be great if there was some encouragement or some sort of strategy where we would be assured of (top players’ participation). The other thing, we don’t want to be dependent on the Tour. Really, what we’re focused on is let’s makethis a wonderful event, let’s make it a great place for players to bring their families if they want to do it. We’re in a beautiful facility here, right? We’ve got a great golf course that many of them said was too difficult initially. Well, Greg Norman came in and worked with the PGA Tour and reworked four greens and started taking some of the rocks out between  the fairways. We’ll continue to improve the golf course. For us managing the event, we need to continue to make it a more desireable event for them to come to.

Q: Valero is at $81 million in charitable contributions from the title sponsorship of the Texas Open and wants want to getto $100 million by the time the current sponsorship contract concludes. At the rate you’re going you’ll do it in a couple of years, not waiting until 2018.

A: What I didn’t say is that once we get there we’ll set another goal and try to move forward. Our commitment to charities is really what drives us (because) from a business perspective, it’s really hard to quantify the value (of the  sponsorship). Although, we’ll look at the TV (ratings), and say we got great ratings, and we got this many exposures andall that. But, honestly, if you said ‘Joe, are you selling a bunch more fuel as a result of the event?’, I’d probably tellyou ‘I don’t know.’ That being said, it’s significant enough for our San Antonio community, and it touches enough people,that it’s very important for us to maintain it.

Q: Does the increased drilling activity on the Eagle Ford play near San Antonio make it possible to have more people to look at your involvement in this and be bigger players in the charitable effort?

A: I don’t know that we’ve seen it yet. But I would suspect going forward, perhaps particularly in the areas of  hospitality, you would think this would be a great entertainment venue. We have the refinery in Corpus Christi and Three Rivers, so we have a significant amount of Eagle Ford running through the system today. Certainly the increased production  from that has raised the per-capita income for a lot of people down there and hopefully it does flow through to the event.

Q: Since the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon, all events on the PGA Tour are stepping up on security. Valero had an incident with a protester on site at TPC last year (he posed as a volunteer, then unveiled a sign bringing attention to Valero’s refining of heavy-sour crude oil). What’s the security situation, because Valero can be a target?

A: Valero has security active out here and the San Antonio police are involved. It was dealt with very quickly last year and  there were no issues. I think the team with Greg Norman Productions has modified the processes on working people through the system and the training that they’re doing. I don’t know, beyond that, there’s much that can be done. I’m praying that, well, it’s amazing, you don’t think a golf tournament being something that would attract (protests). For someone to be concerned that we’re going to run heavy sour crude in our refineries, we run it today. And for that to be the issue, for them to spin stories, it’s disappointing. They look through the fact that we’re hosting a great, wonderful event here in town that’s doing all the things to help our kids.

Greg Norman (left), whose golf-event management company operates two PGA Tour events including the Valero Texas Open, shares a moment with Valero CEO Joe Gorder.

Greg Norman (left), whose golf-event management company operates two PGA Tour events including the Valero Texas Open, shares a moment with Valero CEO Joe Gorder.

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