Fore!

We went to the US Open yesterday!  I don’t know any more about golf than I did on Friday.  But it was fun.  Note:  all photos were taken stealthily with my i-phone, so the quality is definitely not as great as with my other cameras.

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People lined up on every knoll, path, nook and cranny.

The bus let us off just outside the main entrance gates.  It was an impressive sight.  I found myself, throughout the day, struggling to get my bearings.  Chambers Bay currently does not look anything like the quiet place that we occasionally go to walk (there’s a nice paved path that goes all around the golf course, covering about 3 miles).  Flower beds were created, gravel and paved walkways.  There are tents of all sizes all over and fences to keep people where they’re supposed to be. I chatted with a Chambers Bay employee in the tent that the husband’s company had reserved tent and she said the course was supposed to open for regular business this Thursday.  They’ve got quite the task in front of them to tear all that down.

One of those was the husband's company's corporate tent.
One of those was the husband’s company’s corporate tent.

When you go into the gates you have the option of entering a number of tents.  One of them is the merchandise tent.  It is the size of a small department store.  You can get just about anything you desire with the USGA/US Open logo on it.  The husband bought a shot glass and we bought a refrigerator magnet.  Last of the big spenders.  They had some cool shirts, and I recognize it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event…but I’m not a golfer.

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After taking all of that in, checking out the corporate tent and grabbing some water we headed out on the course to follow a player from Lakewood, WA, Troy Kelly.  Here’s where I learned my first valuable lesson:  following a particular player is difficult.  You see, the players get to take a direct route from hole-to-hole. Across greens, up onto catwalks built just for them.  But, the followers have to go as the course will allow, which means up and down and around the corner.  It might be easier on a flatter course, but Chambers Bay is built in an old gravel pit.  It’s hilly.  And, you’re working your way around along with thousands of other people.

Masses of people...do you sense a theme?
Masses of people…do you sense a theme?

In the company tent there was an interactive computer that seemed to indicate Troy was on hole 15.  Hole 15 was waaaaaay over there from where we were.  Oh, well.  Nice day, US Open, why not?  So, we made our way to Hole 15.  We climbed into the bleachers. And there were no players on hole 15.  After sitting there for a good 10 minutes two names popped up on the reader board as coming up.  Neither were Kelly.  Hmmmm…that’s a head scratcher.  I downloaded the USGA app.  It said Kelly was at hole 8.  Whuh?!  All we could figure was that we looked at something wrong when we checked before.  Because, really, did we have a clue?

Why, yes, that is the Goodyear blimp!  The flags were on the back of the giant grandstand at the 18th hole.
Why, yes, that is the Goodyear blimp! The flags were on the back of the giant grandstand at the 18th hole.

We headed to hole 8…waaaaaaay over the other way.  He wasn’t at 8 when we arrived.  It took us a few more minutes to figure out that the USGA “live” reports were a hole behind.  Okay.  We began chasing him.  But, remember, we’re going up, down, around…along with a whole lot of other people.  After missing him at 9 we decided to skip ahead to 12. Waaaaaaaaay…you get the idea.  We got to 12 and there was a line to get into the bleachers.  We got into it. After a few minutes we realized that some people had “special” passes that got them right in…while the rest of us waited. Well, that was no good.  We gave up on 12.  We decided we would go back down the hill to 15.  A line.  We went back up the hill a bit and found that we could stand right next to where they tee off on 15.  We stood.  We waited.  It was sunny.  It was not a bad deal.  Kelly finally arrived.  Tee’d off, headed down the green.  We looked at each other, agreed we were hungry and headed back to the corporate tent.

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Refreshed and rehydrated we connected with three guys in town from Australia, doing business with the husband’s employer. They were really nice and we headed up the hill with them to the 7th hole to watch an Australian guy play.  There was no line at the bleachers!  The husband and I talked about it after we sat down and we think that it’s because the 7th hole was halfway up a hill that dead ended and it really wasn’t close to any other holes.  For the first time since arriving we were actually able to watch a number of players play through.  Not that we knew who any of them were.

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A couple of other things that I noted during the day:

When they hit the ball you hear it fly through the air with the greatest of ease….but I could not follow that itty bitty white ball. Perhaps those more skilled than I are able to do so, but I found myself blindly staring into the air long after the ball had already landed.

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The fans seem to be quite well-behaved (though I’m sure that as the warm day progressed and more beer consumed it may have unraveled a bit).  Very quiet.  But, I guess that’s demanded by all of the sideline people sticking their hands in the air demanding quiet.  People quietly clap when someone does well.  Quietly groan when someone doesn’t do well.  It’s fun to be in one part of the course and hear groans and sounds of approval from an entirely different part of the course.

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There is a part of me that fears we have awoken some latent golf beast within the husband.  Yesterday evening he turned on the golf channel.  This morning he turned on the golf channel. He assured me (not very convincingly) that he’s just interested because he now is familiar with the course.  We both agreed that the best seat in the house is the couch.  If you’re actually wanting to see the tournament going to the tournament is not the way to do it.  But, a good time was had by all and it was a nice way to spend a sunny Saturday.

Panoramic view from the corporate tent on the 7th hole.
Panoramic view from the corporate tent on the 7th hole.

6 thoughts on “Fore!

  1. That was a good photo tour around the course. You say you took these stealthily with your camera phone. Does that mean had you been discovered, you could have been tackled to the ground by security and escorted to the Pierce County U.S. Open Special Detention Holding Center? Possibly to be interrogated by an angry Tiger Woods? Wow!

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    1. Thanks! Ha! Tiger was long gone. He didn’t even make the finals. The very long list of “Do nots” that we received with our tickets said absolutely no photography Saturday or Sunday. However, I saw a lot of people with cell phones out taking pics, so I did the same. I mean, what were they going to do…confiscate tens of thousands of cell phones? 🙂

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  2. Thanks for posting your interesting perspective! Your pictures give a more realistic impression of the golf course than what is shown on TV. It is almost like being there! Seriously!

    BTW, I disagree; I think that it is better to be at the tournament so you can see as many of the professional golfers that you want to see instead of only seeing who they choose to show you on TV.

    I have been to many PGA tournament around the Chicago area, but the market has dried up over the last few years, with only one tournament every two years. Your photos have helped today.

    Thanks again, rookie; and thanks to your husband for taking you to the tournament.

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    1. Thanks for reading my perspective! I could see that, if one knew what they were doing when they attended a tournament, they could structure their day in such a way so as to see exactly what (and whom) they wanted to see. We just didn’t have a clue. Are the courses that you’ve gone to relatively flat? I think one of the challenges this course presented was the fact that it’s so hilly. It was nothing but an old rock pit up until around 7 years ago.

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