Sunday, August 03, 2008

Bridgestone Trip Diary: Friday

Today is my last day here at the tournament. I got up a little earlier this morning to make sure I packed up everything because I had to check out of the hotel.
The plan today still wasn’t finalized when I got to the course. And I still had some tough decisions to make as to who to follow. I started out by sitting at the 10th tee and watching groups tee off. If the golf channel showed Phil Mickelson teeing off then you might have seen me. I was wearing a green t-shirt with white trim, blue jean shorts, sunglasses, and my hair was in a ponytail.
The only thing I knew for sure was that I wasn’t going anywhere near the clubhouse. I had speculated the night before that maybe my burning eyes were allergies, so I hoped that by staying away from all of the flowers, I might be able to avoid the eye trouble.
So, here are some stray thoughts as the groups teed off on 10:
Henrik Stenson wore some nice white striped pants. As mentioned before, the tv cameras filmed Phil’s tee shot.
Next Group: Trahan sported ugly hot mustard colored shoes. But at least the belt matched. Jimenez and Dougherty were wearing pink.
Along came Graeme McDowell who looked nice in a crisp blue shirt and gray pants with blue pinstripes. He also had “GMAC” on the back of his cap. I wonder if he’s sponsored by the folks who financed my car or if that’s just his nickname.
Fredrik Jacobson looks like anything but a golfer. Scruffy hair and that shirt that’s only tucked in at the belt buckle area. You’d think he just rolled out of bed or something.
The group of Weekley, Immelman and Casey joked around some while waiting to tee off. And yet another supporter of the color pink: Zach Johnson.
Martin Kaymer was in Zach’s group and he has the cutest head covers next to Tim Clark’s penguin. Kaymer’s were a gopher and a white/gray tiger. And as for Lee Westwood, when his name was announced, he smiled and looked all around the gallery.
After Westwood’s group teed off, I went out to walk with the groups. I wanted to catch up to Jimenez’ group but I kept getting stopped when the other groups were hitting their shots, so I gave up and followed the Casey-Immelman-Weekley group and then the Cabrera-Wilson-Johnson group.
Sticking to my decision to avoid the flowers around the clubhouse, I grabbed lunch from one of the concession stands out on the course. Then I made my way over to the first fairway so I could check out what Ian Poulter was wearing. Even though it was a white ensemble, he still looked very stylish. Poulter’s group teed off at 12:15 pm and while I’m talking about this group, I need to mention Crazy Guy #2. I noticed this guy yesterday, he would sit down on a little foldable stool right under the rope and seemed very intense in his observations of Poulter. Today, he was back again. At least when I followed the groups this time, I sometimes gave up the chance to see them hit every shot and went in search of a shady spot.
Now for some other observations of the afternoon groups: Retief Goosen looks bigger in person than he does on TV. And Chez Reavie has the smallest feet, well shoes, that I think I’ve ever seen. Justin Rose wore a very pretty green shirt today. I’d call it jewel-toned.
You know how the media disparages Sergio’s claims of bad luck? Well, here’s a story that might make you stop and listen the next time he’s participating in a press conference or giving an interview. At some point during his round, Sergio’s ball landed in the rough. I was lucky enough to be standing right next to the spot, so I had a great view. Sergio comes up and hit his next shot and then immediately looks down at the ground. He calls over his caddie and then chops away at the ground with his club. Springing up from the ground is yet another golf ball. Apparently Sergio’s ball landed right on top of this buried ball. You can’t tell me that this kind of thing happens all the time. I’d say this was an example of luck - good or bad depending on your point of view. I think Sergio’s ball might have landed in a good spot on the green. All the golf tends to run together after four days of following different golfers.
Now for a few comments on Rocco’s group. It included the previously mentioned Justin Rose and Scott Strange. Some idiot thought it was Curtis Strange playing in the group. I’d like to know how this guy thought Curtis had qualified for the tournament. As for Rocco, the people who hang out in the corporate/hospitality areas, generously partaking in the hospitality so to speak, cheered loudly for him. But one curious instance makes you wonder just how much of Rocco’s fan support might just be manufactured. On the long par5 16th hole, one of the marshals instructed the crowd to cheer for Rocco. The conspiracy theorist in me compels me to question all of the cheers I now hear on tv when watching golf. Do these people really like the players or are they just responding to a new version of the ‘applause’ sign. One last comment on Rocco, I was in the area of his wayward shot that landed next to the hospitality tent on 17. I don’t think I would have made it on tv though. I was pretty far away from him. I was only wanting to see Justin’s next shot and had to wait for Rocco.
According to my poorly scribbled notes, I’m to mention Srixon Man. This was a very rude man who kept cutting in front of people, like me, in order to keep a close eye on Hoshino, who was in Sergio’s group. Interestingly, Hoshino’s caddie left the golf bag next to Srixon Man and just a few yards away from the tee on some hole on the back nine. I don’t know if he just watched over the bag or if he might have done something to it. The tee wasn’t so far away from where the players cross from the last green to the tee that Hoshino’s caddie couldn’t have carried it to the tee box so it seemed curious to me that the bag was left there next to Srixon Man. That being said, I didn’t see him do anything to the bag but then I was trying to make my way on down along the fairway to see the next shots.
There were two other items to note on my experience of the day’s events. Both happened while I was trying to get off the course to leave. The first was on the 11th hole. I was there for Harrington’s shot from next to the tree and cart path. I was watching the replay on the Golf Channel and you might have actually been able to see me in that one shot they took from on down the hole looking back at Harrington. I taped it so I’m going to play it back and see if I’m on there. The Golf Channel anchors didn’t know what Harrington’s problem was and speculated that it might have been a buried part of the cart path. Well from where I was, it looked to me like the concern was for tree roots. I had heard earlier from other people in the gallery that this group had kept rules officials busy, seeing if rules could be interpreted one way or another. I’m sure it was perfectly legal as it never hurts to ask a question and the rules officials should have no problem saying no. But according to one fan, Clarke had offered a few joking words to Verplank and the fan wondered if Verplank had appreciated Clarke’s good nature.
The other item worth noting involved Ian Poulter. One of his shots landed in the rough outside the ropes. I came up on the crowd surrounding him on my way off the course and I watched as his caddie and a marshal had to take down the crosswalk sign and some rope stakes.
So that was the last golfing moment of my trip. I got off the course, went back to my car, stopped for supper and headed for home. I didn’t suffer from any burning or watering eyes today so maybe it was all of the plantings around the clubhouse that did it.
I had a lot of fun this week and I can’t wait to get all of my pictures printed out. And I will need to watch the last two rounds on tv this weekend.

The final tally of players I saw this week shows that of the 80 players in the field, the only ones I didn’t see were:
Sean O’Hair, Steve Stricker, Steve Webster, Steve Flesch, JJ Henry, Brendan Jones, and Robert Karlsson, and Hunter Mahan..

And no, there wasn’t a ‘Steve’ boycott going on. It just worked out that way.

1 comment:

nicksgolfpalace.com said...

You obviously took some wonderful notes because reading your blog was wonderful and detailed. That bit you wrote about Sergio's bad luck was priceless. It sounds like you had a great time and it has been a great time reliving it by means of your writings. Talk to ya L8R.