Sunday, August 03, 2008

Bridgestone Trip Diary: Thursday

Unlike two years ago when tee times began pretty late in the mornings, they began at 8:30am today. So, I didn’t have long to stand around or sit around and wait. I like this much better.
The pairing sheet they handed out had a mistake on it and it confused some people. The morning groups starting on the 10th tee were listed under the heading “Afternoon 1st tee” and then the afternoon groups going off the first tee were listed under the heading “Morning 10th tee”. But only the headings were wrong. There was still enough information on the sheet to figure out what was going on.
I got the sheet and eagerly studied the groups, trying to decide who to follow. Sergio was grouped with Hoshino and Johnson Wagner. Unfortunately, I wasn’t all that interested in seeing Wagner or Hoshino, so I opted to follow Ian Poulter, Tim Clark and Steve Lowery in the morning. I stuck with them for 11 holes and then went to get lunch.
I know all of you are waiting for it, so here it is: The Ian Poulter Fashion Review. He wore a very pretty and vibrant blue shirt, with black pants and a sparkly black belt. The pants had the Ian Poulter logo on them in blue and a very cool checkerboard patter on the front. That probably doesn’t show up that well on camera. Steve Lowery looked exhausted even before he teed off. And Tim Clark still sported the scruffy look that I like so much. Ian’s caddie is not afraid to direct the gallery. He seems to like telling people to stop moving and probably wishes he didn’t have to. One instance that sticks out: (loosely quoted) “You, kid. Stop.” He did single that boy out but don’t worry, that boy had to have been between 15 and 18 years old. Plenty old enough to know better than to be moving around.”
There was a lady and young boy walking in the gallery and they seemed to end up next to me often. Well, on the 17th hole, the lady called out to Lowery and gave him something. Deductive reasoning would suggest that this was Lowery’s wife and son. Before this exchange, I noticed three things about her:
1. Her designer purse was larger than 6 X 6 X 6.
2. She was wearing pants in 85 degree weather.
3. Her wedding ring set must have weighed more than one of my Chihuahuas.
After the exchange, I noticed a couple more things:
1. As with all PGA Tour wives, she is a knockout.
2. Her watch was big and encrusted with diamond-like jewels. I wouldn’t be able to identify them as diamonds but I bet they were.

I spent all morning strategically positioning myself in the shade as much as possible. I woke up with a sunburn but at least my face didn’t get it too badly. It was mainly on my arms. I kept reapplying sunscreen today and I feel miserable - not in the ouch that hurts kind of way, but in the yuck I need a bath way.
I took a break for lunch and decided to follow one of the afternoon groups: Jimenez, Dougherty and Trahan. While waiting for them to tee off, I had to see the Els, Mickelson, Stenson group tee off. So, I finally got to see Phil play golf. Last time I went to this tournament, I didn’t see him once. You would have thought their gallery would be huge and it was. But I think Tiger’s was bigger last time I was there - the year of the ball over the clubhouse incident. I thought it was telling that even putting Els and Mickelson together didn’t result in a gallery bigger than Tiger’s. Vijay had a pretty big gallery too and he was playing with Richard Green and Steve Flesch.
As for Jimenez, Trahan and Dougherty, it was a fun grouping. Trahan sought shade under the same tree as me. Granted, his caddie, a marshal, and about 6 other spectators were there, but mentioning them kind of detracts from the story J Dougherty had a shot from the gallery which was cool. I like it when the players have to go outside the ropes to play their shots, though I’m sure they don’t like it. During the nine holes I walked with this group, they were spontaneously joined by a fourth player: Boo Weekley. He completely missed his own fairway and his ball ended up landing just behind the Jimenez group. The ball whizzed over our heads and landed in the fairway with Jimenez, Trahan and Dougherty looking around wondering whose ball that was.
After Jimenez, Dougherty, and Trahan finished up on Nine, I watched them tee off on 10, mostly because I could sit down and rest my feet. Then I went back down 9 to a shady spot short of the green. From there I watched Jacobson, Snedecker and McDowell finish up that hole. While standing there, I saw this skinny, young girl drive up in a golf cart and park alongside the ropes. A little later, I heard some man joking with her. I turned around and looked and saw that it was Bobby Clampett. Then I heard him apparently talking to Kelly Whatsername - he was speaking into a Golf Channel microphone.
By this time, it was getting on to about 3pm and I had been following along since 8:30am. So, I was ready to look at some merchandise, decide that I’m too miserly to spend that much on a shirt, and head back to my car and hotel. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that simple. My eye started burning and watering again! When I finally got to my car, I put some eye drops in, but they didn’t really do that much good. I drove back to the hotel basically with just one good eye to see. Then I flushed out my eye with some eye wash and laid down on the bed with my eyes closed for a while. Eventually, my eye cleared up. I think I have it narrowed down to either an allergy to some kind of plants they have near the clubhouse. The only times I’ve had this eye trouble have been at the zoo where they have incredible gardens and around the clubhouse area where they also have lush plantings. I’ll just have to stay away from the clubhouse tomorrow. Of course the wind doesn’t help and neither do these new glasses of mine which provide very little in the way of protection from dust and particles flying around.
Looking at the list of players and counting up those I’ve seen, it looks like there’s only 10 or 15 I haven’t seen yet. I don’t know who I’m going to follow tomorrow. I’d like to see Justin Rose, but he’s paired with Rocco and I bet that gallery will be big. I might just spend part of the day in one shady spot and watch the players pass by me. There aren’t really any groupings that make me want to follow them. It might be a good way to check off more names on the list. My shady spot would have to be away from the clubhouse and near the real restrooms.

This one elderly fan is apparently a great supporter of Stuart Appleby. He wears a t-shirt that says things like “Appleby’s Accolyte”. Well, that’s on the back. On the front, it says something like “Stewart’s Supporter”. And yes, it was spelled that way. So, apparently he’s a fan of Stewart Cink and Appleby or he misspelled Appleby’s name.
Apparently everyone is allowed to smoke at this tournament because there were a lot of people who were. Let me tell you, gas prices are not too high as long as people can still buy cigarettes and cigars.

Obligatory Jerk Story: One of the players in the Jimenez group had a chip that didn’t end up all that well. Some kid said, “Give me three tries and I could do better.”
1. The whole point of golf is that you only get one try
2. Give a PGA Tour player 3 tries and he’ll hole his chip.

I don’t know if I like being away from the internet and my 250 plus tv channels. I find myself wondering what’s going on with Michelle Wie and stunned with the news on ESPN regarding all of the trades going on in baseball. What will the Reds do without Griffey Jr.? I’ll be happy to get home and avoid the regular news. I have to watch it here to get the weather forecast and unfortunately, I also have to hear stories about men being murdered by being decapitated on a public bus while asleep and being thrown on a fire and burned alive. So, Cleveland is just way too gruesome for me.

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