One of the perks of working in the golf industry is that when there’s a tournament in town, we MUST check it out, learn about new technologies, meet other people in the industry and watch some great golfers get ready for the long four days that are ahead of them.
My parents joined me this morning and we set our alarms for 5:45AM. I walked my dog, grabbed a nature valley bar (gotta stick to the golf theme) and we hopped into the car.
First stop: The range. We approached the range and walked past: Sergio, Rory, Rickie and Phil. Their caddies stood behind them, some helped stretch the players out and watched as they headed out to their assigned tees for a 7:30 shot gun start. Sean Foley had been working on the range with Justin Rose and it was hilarious watching them head off on their cart for Justin’s assigned first tee, there was no seat available for Sean, so he took the caddy “seat” and held on for dear life.
Our timing worked perfectly. Rickie was on his was out to the 6th hole as we were walking out to find some good real estate for the morning. Let me tell you, I have met some pretty well known musicians and athletes through work over the years, and Rickie is without doubt one of the “good guys”, he is polite, genuine and poised. He took the time to acknowledge fans, sign autographs and even snuck in a picture with me (see below). Rickie is doing great things for golf.
Next up, we somehow ended up on the 11th hole where Sergio was teeing off. He hit a great drive and we decided to stick around that tee box for a while. Soon thereafter, Bubba Watson walked to the tee and also hit a great drive.
We then decided to stretch out a bit and started walking over to the 4th green. (For those of you that haven’t been to a golf tournament, practice rounds are much easier for onlookers to find a decent spot to watch the players.) All of a sudden we noticed a large crowd gathering along the 4th fairway. We heard whispers that soon increased in volume, World #1 Rory was on his way to the green, so we stuck around to watch-who wouldn’t!? He hit about a 120 yard wedge tight to the flag and holed his putt. After he watched the amateur players finish up, his caddie stepped over to the top of the green and in anticipation of tomorrows pin position or maybe Sundays- stuck a pencil into the green. Rory sent a few putts rolling towards the imaginary cup and moved on to the next hole after he poured one right into the target. Man…he is going to be hard to beat It was awesome to watch his routine and technique up close.
So, off went Rory and then came Phil. Rooting for Phil has been a family activity for years and seeing him today on the course was a treat. He has a way with people, even if he doesn’t stop to sign an autograph or say hi, he has that look on his face that “everything is going to be okay”.
The front 9 was slowly coming to an end for the boys and it was almost time to head to the office (hey, a girls gotta work). We were able to catch one of Rickie’s tee shots (smooth and poetic) and then we headed over to the 18th hole to walk across to get to the exit. We ended up running into Luke Donald who was in a tricky position for his approach shot onto the 18th green. All of a sudden we turned around, and Luke was faced towards us ready to hit. Luke hit a beautiful shot onto the green and walked by us with a smirk on his face-he knew that we were a bit nervous about the fact that he was aiming directly at us. My father said to him: “Thanks for not hitting my family”, he laughed a bit and said: “I saw one of you ducking!” (naturally, it was my father who was ducking!).
Three hours spent watching the greats play golf was an awesome way to start the day. I am so fortunate to be working in the golf industry and I can’t wait for the next round!