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Eric Smith

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Re: Best Major Championship Personal Story
« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2011, 07:25:10 PM »
Walking the 72nd hole of the 1996 US Open with Melissa Lehman and my college roommate, who was Tom's caddie when he was on the Nike Tour.

That was some raw emotion.

Sean Leary

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Re: Best Major Championship Personal Story
« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2011, 07:35:22 PM »
Tie for me.

Being by the 18th green for the 2000 US Open when Nicklaus got home on 18 on his last hole in a US Open.

in 1998, I stayed at the same hotel in San Francisco as Fuzzy Zoeller did. We sat at the table next to him at breakfast where I watched him have a pre-round breakfast that consisted of solely:

Black coffee


Ben Voelker

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Re: Best Major Championship Personal Story
« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2011, 07:52:53 PM »
Do practice rounds count?

My dad was lucky enough to snag 4 Tuesday practice round tickets at the 2005 Masters.  We drove down from Nebraska on Monday and came back Wednesday.

My two brothers and my dad stayed together at 13 while I decided to walk around for a bit.  I stopped behind 14 green with about 10 other people and waited to see who came through next.  It was Gary Player and he was by himself.  The pin was back right at the bottom of that nasty slope and Mr. Player's ball was back left probably 40 feet away.  He dropped a few balls down and began hitting putts and told us all about it.  He tapped a putt straight at the hole and told us it would go 30 feet by.  It did.  He hit a few more, predicting the result each time.  With his fourth ball, he tapped one toward the back of the green and it settled within a foot.  It was so cool to see 40 years worth of local knowledge at work.

A distant second was every player skipping a ball across the pond at 16 the same day.

A more distant third was sitting at 18 green all day Sunday to see the end of the tournament and the trophy presentation to Jim Furyk at the 2003 US Open at Olympia Fields.

Kyle Harris

Re: Best Major Championship Personal Story
« Reply #28 on: August 15, 2011, 08:27:20 PM »
Seeing hometowner Jim Furyk win in 2003 with my father was terrific.

Same tournament: as a Dub my father was keen to follow Harrington. As he approached the first tee Thea crowd was calling out to him but he kept his eyes forward to the crowds disappointment.  After he hit his tee shot and was walking off the tee, my father shouted something to him in Irish.  Harrington stopped looked squarely at my father and gave him a big smile.
my father was then mobbed by people wanting to know what was said. We still laugh about it.

I'll guess:

"Lay 'em down and smack 'em yack 'em!"

Jason Walker

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Re: Best Major Championship Personal Story
« Reply #29 on: August 15, 2011, 08:55:45 PM »
I have several.

The first was the 1982 PGA at Southern Hills.  As a young 10 year old who was golf crazy it was my first professional event ever.  I was in heaven.  My father was fortunate enough to have some clubhouse passes each day so I was able to quickly fill up a couple of visors full of autographs--it was a far different environment than today obviously.  But the highlight was following up Jack Nicklaus the final round as he toiled in the middle of the pack.  I think I was able to see every shot of his as I lugged my fathers binoculars around.  Anyway, we were in the clubhouse later in the day and my dad and I walk over so I can get Jack's autograph.  As nice as he can be, he says "Thanks for following me around out there today, it was nice to you have out there", and then chit chats with us.   I'll never forget it, and who knows if he was just blowing smoke, but even my father attests that he was incredibly cordial and nice that day.
Second is the 2009 Open Championship in Turnberry.  I'm fortunate to have a great friend who is involved televised golf (don't blame him for the commercials this weekend!--he's a producer.  At any rate, a few of us went over to golf and take in the tourney.  Friday evening we're having dinner and drinks at the Treehouse in Ayr and lo and behold Stewart Cink sits down next to us with his wife and trainer.  We try to buy him a drink but he was fighting a pretty bad cold--obviously so we realized as we chatted for a bit and amazing he held it together.  Well, we were all UGA Bulldawgs and he's a Tech guy but we still had a good time.  Fast forward to Sunday morning, and before we head down we stop in the betting shop to make some bets.  We decide to load up on Stewie (12-1), and Watson (5-1).  We were the only ones following Cink on the back nine (inside the ropes for about half of it), cheering him on!  (he actually remembered us at the Grand Slam in Bermuda which was hysterical).   Well, both of us would have freely given up our action on Cink (especially since we were guaranteed at that point) to watch Watson win but it was not to be.  During the playoff coming down 18 we're cheering like mad for Cink and some old guy grabs us and says "it's not very sporting of you to be rooting for him right now".  Oh well.

Lastly was the 2010 PGA.  I was fortunate to spend Sunday afternoon in WS clubhouse (thanks to same friend)—just a fantastic day.  Got to meet and spend some time talking with Pete Dye and later Herb Kohler (have some great pics if I could figure out how to post them).  Then Matt Kuchar finished up and was friends with a guy in our group so he hung out.  The visible excitement he had of making the Ryder Cup team that day was awesome.  And then the DJ craziness….well, for better or worse I found myself stuck in the entrance vestibule of the clubhouse as he came out of the scorers room….and he headed right to the entrance looking for his girlfriend.  It was easily one of the most uncomfortable 90 seconds of my life but he had this absolutely crazy look in his eyes….this was before he went to change and he seemed to be almost hyperventilating.  Just unreal.

These are the highlights for sure.  Sunday at the 1996 Masters was pretty nuts as well.   BUt that said, my topper is the 1999 Ryder Cup but until I can post pics I wont tell that story.  It's not believable without pics!

« Last Edit: August 15, 2011, 08:58:55 PM by Jason Walker »

Kalen Braley

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Re: Best Major Championship Personal Story
« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2011, 09:00:32 PM »

You can send them to me at this address found over there


I'm the designated posting pics guy!!   ;)

Rory Connaughton

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Re: Best Major Championship Personal Story
« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2011, 10:08:56 PM »

Only a man of the world like you would know that Jive is a derivation of Irish :-)


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Re: Best Major Championship Personal Story
« Reply #32 on: August 16, 2011, 01:26:08 AM »
Jason it's really interesting to hear how distraught DJ was in real life.  On TV he seemed extremely composed and calm...overly composed and calm.

2000 US Open at PB (only been to majors at PB).  I was in HS at the time and worked as a forecaddie on 14 on the right side of the fairway searching for balls of folks who tried to cut the corner.  The rough was ridiculous in that area and I could literally hide my shoes as the grass was mid shin in places.

My best friend was working 6.  I wasn't working Sunday afternoon so hung out with him on the right side of the fairway for a good amount of the day.  When Tiger pushed his drive right in the rough we put a little flag to ID where it was and then stood there until Steve abruptly told us to back WAY up.  The fact that he was able to put that shot on the green with a 7 iron was unreal...there were some guys that day who laid up instead of trying to get to the top level…the green was not an option for anyone else.

What sticks in my head is contrasting the experience with Tiger to another player who ended up going over the cliff and had to take a drop.  We told him where the ball was but then he was seriously friendly and chatted with us and gave us a tee and a ball he used on the 5th.  It was in complete contrast to Tiger...both in play and demeanor.  I wish I could clearly remember who it was.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2011, 04:17:01 PM by Joe Tucholski »

Pat Burke

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Re: Best Major Championship Personal Story
« Reply #33 on: August 16, 2011, 01:30:01 AM »
Oh, good Lord, where do I start?

- Riding in the Gatorade cart for the Hale Irwin/Mike Donald layoff at Medinahwith my pal...the only way to watch a tournament...

- lecturing Chris Berman about 20 seconds before he was about to go live on air during his practice recitation for his report after Irwin won because he had his facts wrong about how many guys had won 3 US Opens, and having him look at me sideways until he finally realized I was right, and reported it as such once he got live on air.

- Hitting greeeside bunker shots in a practice round with Bernard Langer, Tom Kite and Steve Elkington in my player'd group during a practice round at Hazeltine.

- Seve handing me silverware at the end of the buffet line at the player's dinner after I'd gone through it and filled my plate (but forgot utensils) because "you cannot play without your clubs"

- Seve coming up to our table to "coochy-coo" his newborn ("dees iz my sahn") ... the proudest papa I ever saw...

- Getting stuck in that lightning storm on #5 at Hazeltine on Thursday and thinking I was going to die, even in the shelter they escorted us to...

- watching Wayne Grady and Ian Woosnam get completely destroyed and close the joint at TGI Friday's the Wednesday night before the tournament.

Were Quasimoto jokes part of the Grady Woosnam routine?


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Re: Best Major Championship Personal Story
« Reply #34 on: August 16, 2011, 10:03:27 AM »
at the last PGA at Medinah, at a practice round, Adam Scott waving my then 9 year old daughter up onto the 17th tee for an autograph..later on Padraig had her run into the middle of a fairway to do the same
198 played, only 2 to go!!

Michael Wharton-Palmer

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Re: Best Major Championship Personal Story
« Reply #35 on: August 16, 2011, 10:28:37 AM »
Caddying for Hal Sutton at The Open at Birkdale, just a few eeks before he won the PGA.
Great week, playing with the likes of Nicklaus, Watson, Trevino, Norman in practice rounds..a true inner look at what it is like inside the ropes at a major....

Howard Riefs

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Re: Best Major Championship Personal Story
« Reply #36 on: August 16, 2011, 10:49:48 AM »
Final round of the 2003 U.S. Open at Olympia Fields. At #1 green, I started following Phil Mickelson's group, which is no easy task given the gallery size.

While Phil and his playing partner was on #3 green, I walked down the left side fairway of #4, which is a 400-yard par 4. I'm about 270 yards down when...


It felt like a punch. Instead it was Phil's drive hitting me flush on the right bicep.  The ball bounced forward, with a clear opening to the green.

Phil and Bones soon approached the ball:

Phil:  "Did I hit anybody?
Me:   "Me, but I'm ok."
Phil:  "Real sorry about that. Bones..."

Bones reached into the bag to retrieve a new ball, just as he has hundreds of other times after Phil has pegged a spectator.  

Phil:  "Here you go" as he handed me a Titleist 8.  “And thanks for the nice lie.”  

"Golf combines two favorite American pastimes: Taking long walks and hitting things with a stick."  ~P.J. O'Rourke

Mike Tanner

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Re: Best Major Championship Personal Story
« Reply #37 on: August 16, 2011, 04:14:52 PM »
From the 2004 Open at Shinnecock:
The first major I've ever attended. Following players during practice rounds:
Ernie Els is a seriously big guy and swing coach David Ledbetter is the epitome of gangly. Couples is as laid back in person as he is on TV. David Duval is making his comeback at the Open? Is he crazy? Steve Williams barks at me for taking a photo of Tiger (didn't make me feel like the Lone Ranger). This course is stunningly beautiful.

My buddy and I sat in the stands at No. 7 on Sunday and watched every group come through. Quickly realized that things were out of hand as nobody could hold the green. Saw Kevin Stadler tomahawk a club in frustration. Was horrified to see the putting surface being watered every third group or so. How could that be equitable? Not sure of the stats, but recall that there lots of bogies, but not too many doubles or worse.

From the 2007 Open at Oakmont:
Took a break for lunch at the corporate hospitality home set up in a neighborhood adjacent to the course (business was good for my former boss in those days). Took a much anticipated swallow of ice-cold Heineken and felt a stab of pain like a chisel in my #3 molar. Remembered biting down on a popcorn kernel while watching the AT&T at Pebble earlier in the season and hoping I hand't cracked my tooth. Had to put up with that until returning home and going to my dentist.

Oakmont scared me. Couldn't imagine what my card would look like on that course, even from the forward tees. Loved watching play at the 17th hole.       
Life's too short to waste on bad golf courses or bad wine.

Kalen Braley

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Re: Best Major Championship Personal Story
« Reply #38 on: August 16, 2011, 04:22:50 PM »
Here is the first photo from Jason.

None other than Mr. Dye himself..  :)


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