Walker embraces media frenzy after red-hot start to season

Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:45pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) - Just six months ago, Jimmy Walker commanded very little attention from the average PGA Tour fan as he toiled away almost anonymously as a journeyman on the highly competitive U.S. circuit.

Fast forward to this week's Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club, and the long-hitting American is generating plenty of buzz, both inside and outside the ropes, as he bids for a fourth victory in the new 'wraparound' 2013-14 season.

"I can feel it, I can hear it," Walker told reporters after recording birdies on his last three holes for a four-under-par 67 to sit just one stroke off the lead in Thursday's unfinished opening round.

"It's different. It just is. It's really fun to have everybody watch last week and say, 'Good job' and 'Way to win' and 'Keep it going.' It's fun."

Walker had made 187 career starts on the PGA Tour without success before finally clinching his maiden victory at the season-opening Frys.com Open in October.

He has since added further wins at the Sony Open in January and at last week's Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, where he triumphed by one shot.

Not since 2008, when Tiger Woods clinched his first three events, has a player made such a fast winning start to a PGA Tour season. In 1974, Johnny Miller recorded four wins in his first eight tournaments.

Walker is the fourth player since 1995 to win three events in eight or fewer starts to begin a PGA Tour season, emulating the previous achievements of David Duval, Phil Mickelson and Woods, who did so a remarkable eight times.   Continued...

February 13, 2014; Pacific Palisades, CA, USA; Jimmy Walker hits from the second hole tee during the first round at Riviera Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports