Sunday, June 19, 2011

U.S. Open

What a great weekend.  I hope you guys enjoyed yours, but mine was seriously awesome.  After work on Wednesday, I came home, packed up my car, and hit the road to Hershey.  I got to my dad's and we headed out to dinner to make our plan of attack for the U.S. Open on Thursday.  Then we went to the grocery store to get supplies for the day.

We got up bright and early Thursday morning and hit the road.  The tournament is being held at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.  We had to park at the Mongtomery County Fairgrounds and take shuttles from there.  I assumed this would be a 5-10 minute ride.  It was closer to a 45 minute ride.  Oh well.  Once we arrived at the course, we quickly reassesed to plan out our strategy.  With my dad's pairings sheet (which player is in which group, starting at what time, on what hole) in one hand and a map of the course (how the course is layed out and how to get from one hole to another) in the other, we were off.  I had three goals - Padraig Harrington, Phil Mickelson, and Rory McIlroy.  Luckily, Phil and Rory were in the same group, so that killed 2 birds with 1 stone.  But they didn't tee off till the afternoon.  So up first, we were off to find Padraig.  Given the time we arrived (around 9:30) and knowing that he teed off at hole 10 around 7:44am, we thought he might be around hole 17, which was right where we came in.  We were right, we got to watch him take his second shot from the fairway, then decided to head up to the first hole tee box.  On our way there, we were walking along the 18th fairway while his group was teeing off.  [Also in his group was Angel Cabrerra, who won the US Open in 2007, and the Masters in 2009]  Dad and I are walking along the right side of the fairway, when all of a sudden we hear people shouting "Right! Right!" and everyone around us started ducking for cover.  I was freaking out.  I thought for sure I was gonna take a golf ball to the brain.  I heard it come through the trees behind me, then heard this metallic "clunk".  Right behind me was a big crane surrounded by a green fence.  Padraig Harrington had just sliced his tee shot, hit the crane, and the ball dropped in the fenced-in area.  Dad and I stuck around to see what he would do.  A few minutes later, along comes Padraig with his caddy and a rules official.  Since it was a "temporary obstruction," he could take a free drop (it wouldn't cost him a stroke) to get a better shot, rather than trying to hit it out of the fence.  We got to watch Padraig drop the ball and take the shot from literally 3 feet in front of us.  It. was. so. cool. 


We followed Padraig's group for a few holes.  Got to see them tee off on a couple of holes.  I tell you what, these guys have swings that are just beautiful.  And Angel Cabrerra's swing is so freakin powerful.  It's amazing.

Anyway, after a few holes with Padraig and company, we stopped to watch Graeme McDowell.  Graeme won the Open last year.

After following him for a hole or two, we stopped to get something to eat and to sit.  Watching a professional golf tournament involves a lot of walking.  I'd say my dad and I easily walked 4 miles that day.  It was crazy.  Anyway, after we stopped to eat, we decided it was time to catch up with Phil and Rory.  We knew their group would be a total zoo, so we decided to get to a hole before them and beat the crowd.  Our strategy was that we would make our way over to the fairway on 14 to watch them take their second shot, then we'd head over to the 16th hole tee box.  We got up to the hole 14 green and were about to make our way down the fairway, when we realized that their group was just on hole 11 - and we were right at the tee box for hole 12.  So we decided to just park ourselves there and wait.  Our plan totally worked.  As people started filing in, they were "warned" by others around us that they needed to move to the back - none of this filling in from the front.  We were standing right along the edge of the crossing (where they allow spectators to walk across the fairways), so we knew we risked that when they decided to close off the crossing, people would just stop in front of us.  For the most part, people did file in to the back of us, but a few people stopped right in front of my dad and I.  Luckily, there was a really nice group of men who'd been waiting beside us, and they let me slip up in front of them, since I'm short and they could see over me.  So I was right up against the rope to watch Phil and Rory tee off.  Again, so. cool.  Phil just seems like the greatest guy ever, and Rory is adorable.
Rory and Phil (and Rory's caddy) on the fairway
I had no idea how much fun I would have at a golf tournament, but it was really cool to be there and be able to see these guys swing in real life.  It's just amazing, the strength and power in their swings.  I definitely would go again, and really think Matt would enjoy it.  I'm looking forward to watching the conclusion of the tournament today and seeing who wins.  At this point, Rory is 14-under par, and I think it's gonna be pretty hard for anyone to catch up to him.  The second place player is 6-under.  That's a lot of ground to make up. 

Anybody else gonna be watching the conclusion of the Open today?  Does anyone else even care about golf at all??

*no cameras or phones were allowed on the course, so I had to steal all of these from the interwebs

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