Sunday, August 03, 2008

Bridgestone Trip Diary: Wednesday

Ready for another day of golfer watching. I saw the MetLife Blimp today tethered in a field next to the Lockheed Martin place where we all park to catch the bus. It looks really small compared to the building next to it. I would take a picture but since Lockheed Martin deals in government contracts I thought it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to take a picture of the place and put it on the web.
I ate breakfast at McDonalds this morning and there was a group of older people complaining about gas prices. They would really complain if they had to pay $0.40 more a gallon like I do when I’m home.
I got to the practice range this morning and sat down to see Aaron Baddeley, Sergio, and Nick O’Hern. This guy, hereafter referred to as Crazy Guy, sat down next to me and you could tell he was excited to be there. He took in how each player was hitting their shots and talked to himself. Then he said to me, “He (meaning Sergio) should be on the practice green.” I resisted the urge to respond, “It wouldn’t be golf without those other 13 clubs in the bag.” And the thing is, Crazy Guy is a Sergio fan and was planning to follow him today. Which meant I was destined to be around him. Lucky me.
Sergio and Pablo Larrazabal paired up today for a practice round and Sergio was planning to play all 18 holes. Crazy Guy asked him and found out that bit of info. They reached the first green when the horn sounded and we had to get off the course. I followed everyone else and ended up in the Pro Shop. So, that’s where you go when it rains. On the way there, I snapped a picture of Phil Mickelson signing autographs for people underneath a scoreboard that said “seek shelter immediately.” I thought that was worth a picture.
When we were able to get back out on the course, like maybe 20 minutes later, Sergio and Pablo were late. Crazy Guy kept talking about Sergio and wondering where he could be. I decided to make use of my wait time and watched Kenny Perry, DB Holmes and DJ Trahan. Got some good pictures of them and eventually, Sergio and Pablo caught up.
I followed them thought the first nine holes, spotting Crazy Guy often. And I took a quick break to go to a real restroom when I came to one around the 7th or 8th hole. I had fun watching Sergio and Pablo, except for the headache I had. I liked hearing them converse in Spanish like yesterday’s Cabrera-Jimenez-Romero group. And Sergio and Pablo seemed to have fun, plenty of smiles in the group. Both of them had a couple of really good shots that came very close to the pin. That pleased the crowd.
Sergio and Pablo were going to play the full 18 but after 9, Sergio asked a marshal about the weather forecast and found out another storm was on the way, so they decided to wait it out. I went to get lunch and had just started eating it when the rain began. I got pretty wet but not soaked, drenched, or drowned like a rat. After it eased up, I hung out in the area where the caddies are until the sprinkles got too big to ignore. So, I went back into the pro-shop to wait out another storm. This one seemed to last a long while. The people in the pro-shop speculated that no one would be able to complete their practice rounds after all that rain. Well, finally the rain stopped and when I saw players and caddies heading back to the range, I went back to the fence bordering the practice green. At the practice green, I got plenty of pictures and a bit of a sunburn once the sun came back out. I heard Chris Dimarco comment on the practice green that the speed was like 3 feet slower after the rain.

Obligatory Jerks story: A guy who has spent three years collecting autographs called out to Zach Johnson for an autograph. Zach said he couldn’t right then. I think he said he would sign when he was done with practice. The jerk said “Okay. Thank you. I like your pants.” Zach was wearing some very stylish pink pants. I really did like them. Not missing a beat, Zach replied, “I like your shirt.”
As my headache was getting worse, I decided to call it a day after Sergio came off the practice range. I stopped by the merchandise tent/trailer and tried out my prepaid Mastercard. I’ve only ever used it online and until today it had never been swiped in a machine. I’m always a little apprehensive about the new cards, wondering if I’ll have trouble with them. But this one worked so now I’m going to do more shopping. Maybe in the pro-shop now that I’ve been there.
Today I bought another ball cap that looks just like the one I bought in 2006, only this one says 2008 on it. And I got one of those collectible golf balls with the WGC logo on it and stamped 2008.
On my way out, I walked by the big player board and saw some players seemed to be going back out on the course. The player board gets updated with the times of the players practice rounds and when the tournament begins, with the scores. I don’t know if they really did go back out because I left. Unlike later reports I heard on the PGA Tour network, it didn’t rain All Day. Only about 20 minutes the first time and probably maybe an hour or two the second time. I didn’t look at my watch. But they were all back out on the practice range around 2 or 2:30pm.

Some observations: Pablo had a lady friend with him. I listened to the crowds around me to see if anyone would try to link the lady with Sergio but fortunately I didn’t hear any of that. I did hear some people linking Sergio to the wrong female tennis player. You could tell they didn’t follow tennis because they just named the most famous young women of the game. As for Pablo’s lady friend, she’s thin, tanned, very pretty and has gorgeous hair. And she carried a huge purse with her.
The purse thing is a big issue with me, since we commoners are told purses larger than 6” X 6” X 6” are not allowed. I can only conclude that this rule doesn’t apply to players and their people. So, the following is for any single player or caddie between the ages of 30 and 45ish who usually ends up at the Bridgestone Invitational each year:
If you are looking for a woman who doesn’t care about how much money you have, who doesn’t care if you spend the majority of your time working away from your home, and who only wants to be able to carry a purse during the tournament week, then send me an email. A girl needs her hairbrush, especially when it rains like today.
Another observation: Plenty of people today confused Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby.

I got a ton of pictures today. My SD card had something like 1500 unused ones at the start of the week and I’m down about 200 so far. Some of the pictures ended up being of nothing. For some reason, my digital camera, though allegedly technologically better than a 35 mm point and click camera, takes much longer to actually take a picture and by the time the picture gets taken, the golfer has moved. One of the best pictures I got today was of Stenson and Fannie in the same frame.
Well, after a 20 ounce Coke, two Tylenol, one sinus pill, and some chocolate, my headache is finally easing up. Yay for me. I need to go through the list of golfers I saw today. I can’t wait to see the pairings tomorrow and find out who I’m going to follow. The sun’s supposed to be out so I might bring my sunglasses - Another reason I could use a purse.

Who I saw today:
Robert Allenby, Tim Clark, Hidemasa Hoshino, Woody Austin, Darren Clarke, Charles Howell 3, Aaron Baddeley, Chris DiMarco, David Howell, Angel Cabrera, Nick Dougherty, Trevor Immelman, Chad Campbell, Jim Furyk, Fredrik Jacobson, Paul Casey, Sergio, Jimenez, JK Choi, Harrington, Zach Johnson, Daniel Chopra, JB Holmes, Anthony Kim, Pablo Larrazabal, Paul McGinley, Ian Poulter, Brandt Snedecker, Justin Leonard, Rocco Mediate, Romero, Stenson, Lonard, Mickelson, Rose, Vaughn Taylor, Marksaeng, O’Hern, Rumford, Trahan, Graeme McDowell, Perry, Sabbatini, Weekley, Westwood.

I walked right by Nick Dougherty in the Pro-Shop during one of the rain delays. I didn’t see what he was buying but he seemed very polite as he moved through the crowd. Ian Poulter wore some really nice green pants today. Put him and Zach Johnson together and you could be reminded of an ice cream shop or something. Some people in the crowd said Rocco wouldn’t sign anything today, but as they probably weren’t with him every minute of his day, they might have missed him signing something. Tim Clark is looking kind of scruffy today, a look I like. He should keep it.
Out of the 80 players listed, I’ve seen 55 of them for sure and a few others that I’m pretty sure I’ve seen: Ross Fisher, Oliver Wilson, Richard Finch, Richard Green, Soren Hansen. I’ve seen the golf bags of all of these except Finch so much that I’ve had to have seen the players too. Finch, I think I saw him going to and from the caddie area today during the rain delay.

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