The Buzz: Fort Worth distillery’s whiskey makes its Colonial debut

Posted Sunday, May. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Leonard Firestone and Troy Robertson brought their award-winning TX Blended Whiskey to the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, setting up the TX Tavern at the Crowne Plaza Lounge to the right of the No. 10 fairway.

The proprietors and distillers of Firestone and Robertson Distilling Co. crafted the premium blend whiskey that launched in June 2012. They converted a 1920s-era warehouse at 901 W. Vickery Blvd. to be the home for the only artisanal bourbon whiskey distillery in North Texas. The San Francisco World Spirits Competition hosted its 13th annual event in March and awarded TX Blended as “Best American Craft Whiskey.”

Firestone and Robertson worked with tournament officials to design a tavern complete with the atmosphere of the Fort Worth distillery in their inaugural run at Colonial.

“The concept of a tavern evolved into a unique experience for our guests and patrons,” Firestone said. “We wanted to be able to expose as many people as possible to what we do, and our first year at Colonial has exceeded our expectations.”

Salute the troops

Native Texans and retired U.S. Army veterans Rocky Rocha and Michael Mitchell were presented keys to their new mortgage-free homes over the weekend at Colonial. Both Rocha, 34, and Mitchell, 24, were wounded in Iraq by IED blasts.

The homes were awarded through the Military Warriors Support Foundation’s Homes4WoundedHeroes program, sponsored by Bank of America, the tournament and private donors.

Mitchell’s new home is in Dallas and Rocha’s is in Elgin, where he and his family of four reside.

“All of our kids’ lives, they have always lived in temporary homes,” Rocha said. “That’s all they have known, but that is all in the past because of this incredible home we are receiving in a community we love.” 

The Colonial also celebrated Memorial Day weekend by flying Old Glory as the 18th flagstick for Sunday’s final round. A handful of active servicemen rotated tending the pin.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mark Chapin, originally from Oreland, Ind., currently stationed at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, held the 18th pin for the last several pairings.

“Growing up I’ve always been a huge fan of golf and have golfed my whole life and to stand shoulder to shoulder with these guys is going to be a memory that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life,” Chapin said.

Animal jacket

In honor of Colonial week, the Fort Worth zoo’s 40-foot long lizard at its entrance on University Drive wore a red plaid jacket (the winner of Colonial gets a red plaid jacket).

The iguana sculpture is 40 feet long and weighs 2,600 pounds. It’s been at the zoo since 2010.

It was made by Texas artist Bob “Daddy-O” Wade.

Good times at No. 13

The legend and lore of the party at the 13th hole at Colonial has grown exponentially through the years as the place to be during tournament week.

No. 13 is a 190-yard, par 3 with a total carry over water to a small green guarded by bunkers to the left and right. It can get a little tricky if the wind picks up. But during the tournament it develops into an arena-like destination complete with skyboxes, suites and grandstands holding thousands of people and its own corporate sponsor

No. 13 has gained national attention as being in the same realm as the infamous No. 16 at the Phoenix Open, most notably during the caddie races, with fans openly wagering on which of the caddies will be the first to reach the green.

Adding to the fun is the fact that there are thousands of people hanging out behind the grandstands who are oblivious to the fact that a tournament is going on a few feet away. They are partaking in the adult beverages on sale and betting on the Caddie Races.

Charity Foursome

The Crowne Plaza “Charity Foursome” teed off this weekend with each golf pairing assigned to one of four charities, including IHG’s Shelter in a a Storm.

Crowne Plaza donated $100 for every birdie and $500 for every eagle made to the pair’s corresponding charity, up to $50,000.

Crowne Plaza passed out gray and plum fans to patrons on No. 13 that encouraged fans to donate their caddie races winnings to one of the charities.

Celebrity appearances

The Colonial saw its share of celebrities roll through the 2013 tournament .

Troy Aikman, Wade Bowen, Marshall Faulk, Pat Green, Jim McMahon, Gary Patterson, Daryl Reaugh and Randy Rogers were among those at the course.

Staff writer Jarret Johnson contributed to this report.

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