Bob Tway hits his bunker shot at the final hole of the 1986 PGA Championship. The shot went in and Tway s name was forever linked to the bunker at Inverness Club.
Kevin Tway, son of Bob Tway, plays for Oklahoma State and has been the NCAA regional medalist for two straight years.
All Bob Tway did during his college golf career at Oklahoma State was win All-American honors three times, play on two NCAA championship teams, and be named the nation s top collegiate player in 1981.
So when Kevin Tway, Bob s son, showed up some 25 years later to play the same sport at the same school it was with at least a little pressure and great expectations. After all, it s not much different than if Archie Griffin s sonaccepted a football scholarship at Ohio State.
Young Tway, nearing the end of his sophomore season, seems to be handling the situation with aplomb. Last week, Kevin was the medalist at the NCAA regional in Stillwater, Okla., leading the Cowboys to an easy victory and into the national finals for a record 63rd straight year.
To make the parallel even more delicious, Kevin and Oklahoma State will be favored to win the NCAA crown on the same course where Bob Tway achieved his greatest fame as a professional golfer.
It was at Inverness Club in 1986 that the elder Tway, then 27 years old and in his second full season on the PGA Tour, stepped into a greenside bunker and into golf history on the 72nd hole of the PGA Championship.
Tway, tied with Greg Norman, who also missed the 18th green when his wedge shot spun pack into light rough, leaped into the air several times upon holing his bunker shot, one of the most dramatic finishes in major championship history.
There s no doubt it s my career highlight, Tway said last week. It became a pretty famous shot and it s certainly the shot that people think of when recalling me and my career.
Inverness is definitely a special place for me. Every time I go back I have great memories. And it should be a wonderful course for the college championship.
This week will mark the third time that Bob has returned toInverness to watch his son play.
Kevin s first college tournament, in fact, was at Inverness, Tway said, referring to the 2007 Inverness Intercollegiate hosted by the University of Toledo. That was kind of neat.
Kevin also was in town last fall for the Ping/Golfweek Preview, staged annually at the site of the upcoming NCAA finals. The Cowboys crushed a top national field of 15 teams, 10 of which will be returning this week, winning by 16 strokes. It s one reason they are top-seeded and favored.
I just love that golf course and know it s going to be a real test, Oklahoma State coach Mike McGraw said of Inverness after his team s regional win. I know we won the Preview there in the fall, but I think we ll be seeing a different course when we get there. I expect some taller and thicker rough and some faster greens.
He might also expect some more fireworks from the bottom of his lineup. The Cowboys have most often been paced by stars Rickie Fowler and Morgan Hoffmann (co-medalist in last fall s Preview tournament at Inverness with a 6-under 207 total for 54 holes) as well as senior Trent Leon. But it was Kevin Tway and freshman Peter Uihlein who finished 1-2, separated by a single stroke, in the regional.
What Kevin and Peter would tell you is, We re not the bottom of the order. That s what they would say, McGraw said.
True. In fact, three weeks ago, Tway wasn t even in the order. Despite being one of only two Cowboys to compete in every regular-season tournament, Tway missed the cut on his own team and was left off the roster for the Big 12 Conference championship tournament.
Kevin spent the two weeks between tournaments mostly playing and practicing with his father.
I get a lot better while practicing with my dad, he said after rounds of 74-72-70 at Karsten Creek enabled him to be the only golfer in the regional field to match par for 54 holes. It marked the second straight year he was the regional medalist.
Oklahoma State won by 22 strokes despite a 17-over-par team total in difficult conditions.
That golf course is extremely difficult, especially when the weather is bad and the wind blows, said Bob Tway. Every hole is a disaster hole. Look at the scores. There were goodcollege players shooting in the high 80s and even the 90s. It s a course that you can get psyched out on very easily. But Kevin played very consistently and kept the ball in play.
Did two weeks with the old man, including one day when Kevin advanced out of U.S. Open local qualifying with Bob serving as his caddie, have anything to do with that?
Well, I d say his practice time is a little more constructive when he s around me, said Bob, an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour. He tends to play better after we spend some time together. We do a lot of talking. You know, golf is a little physical and very mental. I can t hold a candle to his physical talent, but I obviously have the experience.
The Tway family lives inEdmond, Okla., just 50 miles from OSU s campus in Stillwater, and Bob said there was little question Kevin would follow in his Cowboy footsteps.
Oklahoma State is really all he s ever known, from a very early age, Bob said. We ve always attended every football and basketball game we can make. From the age of 11 or 12 he was playing with us in the [golf] fund-raiser. I don t think there was ever any thought in his mind to go anywhere else. The only question was if he would be good enough to play there.
After he won the junior [2005 U.S. Junior Amateur] championship, he started getting a lot of recruiting letters. He said, Dad, what the heck do I do with these? One of the nice things about him being at OSU is that I m able to get to a lot of his tournaments and spend a lot of time with him. These days, I d rather watch him or caddie for him than play myself.
Ironically, the elder Tway did miss Kevin s performance in the NCAA regional. Bob turned 50 on May 4 and the weekend of the regional marked his debut on the PGA s Champions Tour at an event in Alabama.
This past week he played in the Senior PGA Championship at Canterbury near Cleveland, which will make for a short commute to Inverness.
I ll be there, Bob said. I wouldn t miss it.
After all, the venerable Toledo course might again provide the backdrop for a memorable moment in Tway family golf history.
Contact Blade sports columnistDave Hackenberg at:firstname.lastname@example.org 419-724-6398.